By Paula MacDonald

The room was alive with anticipation and excitement for the first day of school as nearly 350 new teachers, principals and community business leaders gathered at The Regent special event venue for the 2014 Teaching to Excellence Breakfast, presented by the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce.


First year teachers were treated to breakfast and goody bags filled with school supplies, as well as the chance to win one of many raffle baskets with more supplies and gift cards provided by chamber members. In addition, each school received a brand new printer and a case of copy paper to begin the school year.


“I was a kindergarten teacher back in England, and I want to do everything I can to help them and let them know that we as business owners appreciate them,” said Alison Farnan, owner of Clik-me-Quik and co-chair of this year’s event. “These children are our future, and our teachers have a very important job.”


Guest speaker Regenia Smith, a fourth grade teacher/team leader at Collins Elementary School and winner of the Governor’s Shine Award, provided words of encouragement to those about to embark on their new career. Smith became an educator after 21 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. She told them it is all about making a difference.


“Anybody can be a teacher,” Smith said. “We’re all teachers at one point in time, whether it be a parent, sister or brother, you are always teaching; but it takes a special person to be an educator, and that’s what we all are, right here.”


In addition to welcoming new teachers from 29 area schools at the annual breakfast, the Teaching to Excellence event also recognized teachers who showcased exemplary performance during the prior school year, winning Teacher of the Year honors at their school.


Nearly 50 volunteers helped to make the Teaching to Excellence Breakfast possible, including a dedicated committee who began organizing the event in April.


“There is a lot of planning that goes into this event,” said Tanya Doran, executive director of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce. “We’re extremely proud of our schools and the chamber members who support them. This is our opportunity to say thank you for being a teacher in this community.”


The Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce welcomes businesses and volunteers who are interested in making a difference in the community. For more information, visit or call 234-5944.


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