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Morris receives inaugural Inspirational Teacher Award

Harlan County High School social studies teacher Stephen Morris received the inaugural Black Bear Inspirational Teacher Award from the Superintendent’s Student Council on Friday.

The council acted this fall to create the award to honor teachers who go “well above and beyond” in their required job duties to make students feel special and appreciated, helping them achieve success in and out of the classroom.

Council member Olivia Minor talked about Morris, saying he always treated students with respect and helped them prepare for class and exams in many ways.

“The students really appreciate all you do for them,” she said.

Student Emily Sergent said she has known Morris her entire life. “I love you. I thank you for everything you’ve done for me and all your students through the years.”

Shaun Warren also spoke, echoing comments from his peers and noting that Morris puts his “heart and mind into everything.”

Superintendent Brent Roark opened the presentation, noting the student council created the award, makes nominations and selects recipients.

Luke Parker said Morris did “one of the bravest things ever” to return to teaching after being diagnosed with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. Parker said this documents how much he cares for the students and the teaching profession.

Morris said he is “extremely honored to receive the first ever Black Bear Inspirational Teacher Award. Thank you to my students, past and present, for making my job an easy one to love, for loving and accepting me, and for always being kind to me. You’ve truly inspired me.”

He said students have had a tremendous impact on his life.

“I love each of you and I’m sincerely thankful for the impact you’ve had on my life. Remember to always be kind, always do your best, but most importantly always allow God to lead your way. Go Black Bears!”

The presentation was held during the council’s regular meeting. Also attending the presentation were Morris’ wife, Tabitha and his son, Brayden.

Brayden said, “My dad is the best dad and teacher. He is always nice to everyone. I’m lucky! I love him very much.”