John Hammond, headmaster at Briarwood Academy, has been named Outstanding Teacher of American History for the state of Georgia by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Mr. Hammond, who was selected from 108 chapters across the state for the honor, received a certificate Monday afternoon as Briarwood students, visiting members of the DAR and special guests looked on.
Briarwood Headmaster John Hammond listens during Monday's celebration.
"To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement," said Mr. Hammond who was unaware of the school-wide assembly to honor him.
"The most important thing, despite my love of history, is the students. They are number one," he told the assembly.
O.B. McCorkle, state secretary for Georgia NSDAR and member of the Burkhalter Chapter in Warrenton which nominated Mr. Hammond, said recipients are chosen for their ability to foster a spirit of patriotism and support for American government, their talent for relating history to modern life and events, their high academic standards and their good rapport with students.
As the winner for the state of Georgia, Mr. Hammond is eligible for the national competition in July.
"Mr. Hammond has a heart for students and young people that is rare this day and time,"
said Skip Griffin, chairman for the Briarwood Academy board of trustees.
Mr. Hammond also has an exceptional ability to relate the past to the modern world, said teachers and students who have accompanied him on a variety of educational field trips across the country.
"He really knows history. It's like going with a walking history book," said Al Dudley, a Briarwood senior.
In addition to numerous field trips since the 1970s, Mr. Hammond has also taken students to "The Presidential Classroom," an intensive week of study in Washington D.C.
Currently in his 44th year as an educator, he began his career at Thomson High School in 1961 teaching history, government and English. He served as counselor at the high school for 17 years, and was principal of Pine Street Elementary School until his retirement in 1991 from the McDuffie County public school system.
Mr. Hammond hugs Jennifer Mosley as he accepts his award Monday.
He taught in Aiken for two years until a group of Briarwood parents persuaded him in 1993 to become headmaster, said Karen Hawes, spokesperson.
Mr. Hammond was joined at the ceremony Monday afternoon by his wife Gayle, a veteran school teacher, two sons Chad and Britt, Thomson residents who are partners in the law firm Hammond & Hammond, Inc., and grandchildren Sarah Gayle, Elizabeth and John Thomas.
Founded in 1890, the DAR is a service organization run by volunteers and dedicated to supporting patriotism, preserving American history and protecting America's future through education for children.
DAR has about 170,000 members in 3,000 chapters and membership is open to any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution.Ý