• 59°

Saylor, Freyer selected for HCHS Black Bear awards

By Jeff Phillips

Harlan County Schools

The Harlan County High School Superintendent’s Student Council recently honored senior Noah D. Saylor and drama teacher Jennifer Freyer for going “above and beyond” to help students and staff. Saylor received the Black Bear Kindness Award and Freyer was selected for the Black Bear Inspirational Teacher Award.

The awards result from nominations and voting by the superintendent’s student council.

Saylor, the son of Dewayne and Laurie Saylor, is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, First Priority Leadership, Gear Up and the Spanish Honorary Society. He plans to attend the University of Kentucky in a pre-med curriculum with a goal of becoming a pediatrician.

Freyer is in her third year of teaching. She has taught drama, 12th grade reading enrichment and arts and humanities.

Superintendent Brent Roark told the recipients the awards were created by the student council as a way to let students, teachers and staff know their efforts to help others at HCHS do not go unnoticed. He noted the significance of the award is enhanced when nominations and selections are made from the student council members.

Council member Olivia Minor told Saylor that she has known him since freshman year. During that time, she said he has shown great compassion for fellow students.

“I appreciate all you do for us,” she said. “When your fellow seniors struggle in college algebra, you never care to help and tutor us.”

Ally Alred said Saylor is “so willing to help us. You have never once been like ‘Oh my gosh.’ You just want to be a good person.”

Saylor said he is thankful to have been selected for the award and “I’m appreciative that they recognize that what I do is to strive to show kindness. I’m glad it is seen.”

Roark said the Inspirational teacher award is an awesome accomplishment for any educator “because the students vote on it.”

He recognized that it is difficult for teachers like Freyer to receive it because core curriculum teachers eventually have most students pass through their classrooms. Her contact is pretty much limited to those in the drama program.

“The core curriculum teachers get much more exposure to the student body,” he said.

Victoria Adams told Freyer that she is “an inspiration to me in many ways. You model to other teachers. You spend time after school each day. I really appreciate you.”

Emily Day called Fryer “an excellent teacher because you go so far and above what you have to do.” She said Freyer puts her own “blood, sweat and money into the drama program. So many kids have been pulled into (drama) because of you.”

She added that most people only see the final product of plays and don’t realize what all goes into it” with creating sets and making of costumes.

Kiki Dean told Freyer that “your class has changed me so much.”

Freyer said she considers the award a “huge honor. I really strive to create that safe space for students to where they can be themselves and learn how to contribute to a community.”

She said she is pleased to see the students develop a sense of family through her classes and drama program.