St. Clair 4-H Alumna and
Alabama Teacher of the Year
Inducted March 19, 2013
Gay Glidewell Barnes credits her foundation in Alabama 4-H as the reason she is a teacher. As Alabama’s Teacher of the Year for 2012 and one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year, Barnes’s experiences in 4-H-from competitions, meetings, traveling, and being a camp counselor at 4-H Summer Camp shaped her to be the educator she is today.
“When you are in 4-H, you never really think how you will use what you learn,” she says. “But now, as an adult, when I’m doing something, I realize I learned that because of 4-H.
“4-H is multifaceted and the whole promise of service to the community is not something T truly understood the impact it made on me until I was an adult,” she says. Looking back, I see the impact 4-H made on my life; the choices I’ve made in my life were because of my 4-H experiences.
“The question I ask myself now, that I know is grounded in my 4-H experience, is ‘How is my presence going to make the work better?”‘ Barnes says. “As a youngster, I’m not sure I completely understood the 4-H motto, but through my 4-H experience, and as an adult, I now know what the 4-H pledge means today.
“My experiences in 4-H play into my feelings as a classroom teacher because it is important for me to get it right every day for those children,” she adds. “Our actions impact not just our life, but the lives of the children we teach, and that is a huge responsibility and undertaking.
“l teach because I believe it is important that we have a population of children who will be able to think, and 4-H taught me to think beyond my community.”
Barnes says 4-H was a huge part of her childhood growing up in rural St. Clair County. “I can’t image what I would have done without it,” says Barnes, a 4-H’er from fifth grade until she turned 19 years old. “I had so many opportunities as a 4-H’er that my family could not afford,” she says.
Gay Barnes currently teaches in the Madison City School System.
Nominated by Janet McCoy, Development Program Coordinator