The Tifton Gazette offers a round of applause to individuals and organizations doing good in our community.

Hometown Holidays volunteers

Toys marched on Tifton during the annual Hometown Holidays Christmas Parade on Dec. 7, but they couldn’t have done so without the volunteers and staff who spent months planning the event.

The theme of the parade this year was “March of the Toys.”

Parade grand marshals Jack and Anne Stone led the line of floats and performing groups through the streets and helped light the tree at city hall to kick off the celebration festival afterwards.

The parade featured 62 floats and five performing groups.

The festival stretched throughout downtown and featured live performances by One Voice, TCHS Ladies Choice, the Eighth Street Singing Company, Singers Incorporated, and Jerry Moss and The Southern Soul Band. Christmas carol singing was held at the Main Street Gateway Park and a street dance competition was held at the main stage on 1st Street. Dancers from the Carolyn Ellis School of Dance performed “Santa’s Workshop” at the Tift Theatre.

Excellence in Teaching winners

The Tift County Foundation for Excellence in Education recently held its 29th annual “Teacher Tapping,” as board members visited this year’s Excellence in Teaching winners in their classrooms.

Each year, teachers are nominated by a student, parent or an administrator.

After all the nominations are in, the committee then narrows down the nomination list to a top 10.

Some years, the deciding committee receives more than 100 nominations.

Since it was started almost 30 years ago, 303 teachers have been honored.

The Tifton Rotary Club will hold a banquet in February, honoring the 10 teachers.

The 2019 Excellence in Teaching award winners include:

• Emy Aultman, G.O. Bailey.

• Wendy Dawson, Annie Belle Clark.

• Brandi Diers, J.T. Reddick.

• Kayla Dunn, Omega Elementary.

• Donalyn Garrick, Tift County High School.

• Catherine Gay, Matt Wilson.

• Courtney Greer, Len Lastinger.

• Anna Perrin, Tift County High School.

• Marilyn Ring, J.T. Reddick.

• Sarah Swan, Matt Wilson.

Farmer of the Year

The Agriculture Appreciation Banquet was held on Dec. 2 at the Tift County Multipurpose Building.

Tift County Extension Agent Justin Hand presented the Farmer of the Year Award to father and son Buck and James Aultman.

Hand said this award goes to the top farmer in the county, which is important since Tift County’s $165 million crop value ranks it 8th out of 159 counties in the total grower category.

Hand said that Tift County is one of the premier agriculture counties in the state, so Farmer of the Year for Tift County is a prestigious award.

“Our economists tell us that this money turns over in the county at least four to five times,” Hand said. “Farmers are going to buy seed, chemicals, equipment, labor. That labor is going to buy groceries. They’re going to restaurants…If you think about it, that $165 million farm gate value for Tift County is pretty substantial because it’s about a half a million dollars worth of impact for Tift County that y’all have.”

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