ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. (WFXG) - The South Carolina State Superintendent, Ellen Weaver, made a visit to the local CSRA school district to surprise the educators with a special announcement: the Excellence of Teaching Awards.

The awards are given to educators who excel based on their students' growth with education in their classroom and beyond.

“We have teachers who have delivered astronomical growth in their classrooms this year, and we have an incentive program that rewards them for their work,” said State Superintendent Ellen Weaver.

Prizes ranged from 250 dollars to nearly 30,000 dollars. Winner of the highest prize was Tameika Tinsley, a Allendale County School District 3rd grade teacher.

 “I try to make sure I push them to it. When I see they are not doing 100%, I have talks with them and tell them, I know that's not your best, I believe you can do better. We reach for the stars, and if you miss it, you're still in the sky!” said Tinsley.

Some students even cried tears of joy for their teachers' recognition. 

Another teacher won 4,000 dollars, and said she is motivated by the acknowledgment.

“It felt good to know that the work I put in really paid off. So I am really excited to receive this,” said Brenda-Lee Pringle, a kindergarten teacher with the Allendale County School District.

State Superintendent, Ellen Weaver, said it's important to honor teachers in rural counties, because of how important they are to the state.

“My message to everyone across South Carolina is that we have such purpose and potential in our rural communities. And today is just proof positive of that. So to be able to come to a community that frankly does not often get a lot of celebration and to celebrate the amazing work that has happened here is really gratifying,” said Superintendent Weaver.

Some of the educators we spoke with say that this program is not only a motivation for the teachers, but also the students.

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