Kelli Kuhn was somewhat confused when a group of people, including Morristown Jr./Sr. High School principal Jeremy Powers walked into her classroom Monday morning.
Kuhn first wondered where the e-mail was that would have informed her of a presentation in the middle of class.
It turned out that the presentation was in recognition of her.
Kuhn, who has been teaching at Morristown for 34 years, was one of three Shelby County teachers recognized with the Charles Craft award, an award handed out by members of Leadership Shelby County.
The award was named after a former teacher who inspired Buffy Powers, a member of Leadership Shelby County who wanted to honor him and current teachers for their work.
Waldron Jr./Sr. High School choir director Elizabeth Peterson and Triton Central High School English teacher Judy Fedorchak also were honored.
The Shelbyville and Southwestern recipients will be announced on Monday.
Kuhn said she was in “complete and utter shock” after realizing why Leadership Shelby County representatives Buffy Powers and Emma Miano, and Jeremy Powers were in her classroom.
“You don’t do it for these things,” she said while looking down at the award. “You do it for the kids. Kids are kids. I love being here. It’s the only place I’ve ever taught and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I love this community, I love these kids.”
Peterson said she was humbled and honored by the award.
“I always tell people I have the cream of the crop,” she said. “The kids that, they’re very well rounded. There’s kids that just do music, there’s kids that are athletic, there’s kids that are academic. I get it all.”
She said she teaches for that “ah-ha” moment, when a student understands what she’s trying to get through.
The choir is currently working on a piece that she described as “a bit of a beast,” and while some of them might get mad during the process, it’s worth it in the end when it clicks.
“My goal, it’s more than just teaching music, it is teaching them to be good humans,” she said. “I feel like this maybe speaks a little bit of that to ‘I get it.’”