Peek, Warren honored as top teacher

LASTING LEGACY – Alvord seniors Bella Campbell and Andrea Mora, Far Ends presented Chris and Brady Peek with the Tommy and Virginia Williams Excellence in Character Award in honor of the late Alvord teacher Jennifer Peek. RICHARD GREENE/WCMESSENGER

As senior Andrea Mora watched Jennifer Peek struggle with her own health issues, she recalled the Alvord science and forensics teacher constantly giving the students everything she had.

“During treatment she was still trying to get to school. She put the needs of her students ahead of herself,” Mora said.

Peek, 40, died in March but her impact on her students continues. On Tuesday at the Decatur Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon, Peek was honored as the recipient of Alvord’s Tommy and Virginia Williams Excellence in Character. Boyd High School English teacher Lisa Warren earned her district’s honor.

Brian Stephens of Stephens, Bastian and Cartwright presented Warren and Peek’s husband Chris with $1,000 scholarships and trophies.

Each year, students in two Wise County districts select teachers to be honored through the Character Counts program. Alvord and Boyd were this year’s winners.

Stephens said this is the third year teachers have been honored under the program.

Chris Peek and his son Brady were honored to receive the award.

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“It meant a lot to us. We knew what kind of teacher and person she was,” said Chris Peek. “It’s good for her legacy and to be able to share who she was with others.”

Alvord Valedictorian Bella Campbell noted Peek’s compassion for all of the students.

“The greatest thing about her was her heart,” Campbell said.

Campbell noted that as a forensics teacher, Peek read a lot of disturbing material, but “never gave up on people. That was really inspiring.”

Warren was presented with her honor by Boyd graduation speaker Jacob Taylor.

“No matter how much is on her plate, she’s uplifting and puts us first,” Warren said. “It doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Warren, who teaches AP English and English language teaching, was honored to receive the nomination from her students.

“I have had these students for four years. It’s really special,” Warren said.

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