Restaurant awards third-grade educator 'Teacher of the Year'

ASHLAND Skyler Downs, of Holy Family Catholic School in Ashland, was pleasantly surprised on Monday morning.

In a full-blown surprise, representatives from Texas Roadhouse in Ashland appeared at the school where they gifted Downs a voucher for a free steak every month for a year and named her Teacher of the Year.

“I am a young teacher who has taken a lot of initiative this year and last year. I worked hard and it’s unexpected, but I am very grateful for this opportunity,” Downs said.

“Young teachers, don’t get discouraged, we have a lot of work to do, but if you stay motivated, you will be good to go. Teachers are extremely important. They are needed in the state of Kentucky right now,” she added.

In a three-page document of comments compiled about Downs, respondents applauded her dedication to students and admired the care she has for them.

“Skyler loves the children and the school. She invests her time and often her money. … Skyler has also been instrumental in starting sports and coaching them. This teacher wants the children to succeed,” a submitted nomination said.

Diamond Lewis, representing Rivertime & Riversuites Airbnb in Russell, added to the collection of gifts by throwing in a one-night stay for Downs to relax and find some peace of mind.

“Being a teacher is one of the greatest jobs out there that is overlooked a lot of times and I wanted to just throw in something to show that I do think they are important and we appreciate them,” Lewis said.

“Teachers are the backbone of our future,” he added. “They are the ones that spend a lot of time with our kids, help them find who they are, encourage them and show them love.”

Megan Coomes, Roadhouse marketer, said not only did Downs have so many nominations and votes, but the positive remarks stacked up.

“We put it out on Facebook, hung signs and did some votes inside our restaurant and Miss Downs won, hands down,” she said

“Without our teachers, our kids aren’t growing up to learn to do anything great in life. … We are honored to surprise and treat her today,” she added.

Eric Boos, Principal of Holy Family, said it’s always exciting to see teachers recognized for their contributions to children’s lives.

“She is all about the kids all the time,” he said.