Students call January’s Teacher of the Month a ‘one of a kind’

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 5:57 PM CST
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CAVE CITY, Ark. (KAIT) - February’s Teacher of the Month is an educator that students call a once-in-a-lifetime teacher.

That is how second-grade teacher Candice Thorne was described when she was nominated.

“Mrs. Thorne is a passionate teacher; she excels in about everything that she does,” said Debbie Asberry, principal at Cave City Elementary School. “We need those types of teachers, every district needs those types of teachers.”

Asberry has worked at the elementary school for 30 years and has seen a lot of teachers come and go.

She explained Thorne is one of a kind.

“Ms. Candi is going to teach that child social emotional, academic, and all areas,” Asberry said.

Reporter Imani Williams and Matt Cavenaugh with The Cavenaugh Auto Group surprised Thorne by letting her know of her award.

“Are you Ms. Thorne? Hello, I’m Imani Williams with KAIT. You are this month’s Teacher of the Month,” Williams said.

“It’s a huge award. I appreciate it so very much and for any of my parents to think enough of me to nominate me means a lot to me,” said Thorne, excited and stunned by the surprise.

Thorne has taught for 17 years, teaching in Batesville and now her hometown of Cave City.

“I just feel like it is something you are led to do,” she said. “Like when you want to teach and you do it for the right reasons kind of like a calling.”

Although teaching is something Thorne always wanted to do, some people did not support her dreams.

“In college, I got a lot of backlash from a lot of people,” she explained.

However, Thorne still followed her heart and began teaching, and now, she could not imagine her life without it.

“I finally decided that is what was important to me and that is what I wanted to do,” she said.

The nomination entry for Thorne stated she treats each student the same.

“You can’t shut down because this is their one second grade year, this is the year they get what they need for second grade, and so I feel a huge responsibility for that,” she said.

Thorne said once they are her student, they also become her “kids”.

“I have three girls of my own, but every one of these is my kids. I consider them my own and I treat them like I would want my babies treated,” she said.

From taking kids shopping to helping others in need.

“I decided one year that they needed to learn what it was like to give back,” Thorne said.

She created a project to let her students pick out gifts for others through the Angel Tree program.

“We all had wish lists of what the kids wanted and we all went for our different items and of course, they all came back with far more than what we were supposed to have,” Thorne explained. “I think we had a brother and a sister. They all ended up with 13 Christmas presents and a stocking.”

To making sure Mr. Squeeters, the class Guinea pig, is loved as well, she does what she can for everyone in her class.

“All they need are those high expectations and somebody to believe they can meet those and somebody that cares enough for them to want to work on those things for them,” Thorne said.

Williams asked Thorne what she would say to her younger self when some doubted her ability to teach students.

“Don’t listen to everybody else,” she answered. “There were a lot of times that I would hear they are too little they can’t do it when I taught kindergarten, but kids live up to what you expect of them.”

You can nominate your favorite teacher for the next Teacher of the Month by filling out the nomination form here.