Monette Masons name Mason of the Year, honor teachers
Tommy Jo Masner, Nancy Sills, Coty Cornish and Raye Finley, Buffalo Island Central School teachers, were honored by the Monette Masonic Lodge 558. A dinner was held in recognition of their service to education. Each teacher was presented an Achievement of Excellence Teaching Award.
James "Bubby" McFarlin was named Mason of the Year during the awards ceremony.
Masner, a lifelong Monette resident, has been teaching for 38 years. She taught her first two years at Leachville before moving to the Monette School District. She teaches English at BIC West Elementary School.
"I love teaching. It has been a big part of my life. I enjoy working with children and watching them grow and learn," Masner said.
Cornish was born and raised in Manila. Her family moved to Detroit when she was in the eighth grade. When she completed high school, she returned to her hometown and attended and graduated from Arkansas State in Jonesboro. She has spent her entire 27 years of teaching in the Monette (now BIC) School District where she teaches 10th and 11th grade English.
"The most rewarding experience in teaching is when a former student that I have taught in the past comes to me later and says that I have been a big help to them in writing. It makes you feel good to know that you have touched so many lives. I am happy to have had such a great school to work in. We have good support from the administration," Cornish said.
Cornish plans to retire after this year. She said she plans to travel and enjoy retirement.
Sills serves as speech therapist at BIC in K-12. She works on both east and west campuses and enjoys teaching. This will be her 29th year in education. She began her career in Missouri where she taught her first year. She then taught in Manila teaching a resource classroom for five years before moving to Leachville (now BIC) as speech teacher.
"I love what I do. God has blessed me with a job that I love doing. I enjoy working with the children," Sills said.
Finley teaches seventh and eighth grade math at Buffalo Island Central in Leachville. She has 24 total years in the classroom. In the middle of those 24 years, she worked in a bank for nine years.
"I enjoy office work, but I did miss teaching," she said.
She has been able to combine her two favorite careers, office work and teaching through the years.
She began her teaching career in Manila where she taught the first grade for one year. She then took the position of Monette senior high business teacher for several years. Before she started teaching, she served as bookkeeper at the Monette School.
During the evening, McFarlin was named Mason of the Year. He has been a Mason for 33 years. The Monette native graduated from Monette High School in 1963. He works in maintenance at BIC High School, a position he has held since 1991.
Through the years he has served in all the chairs in Lodge 558 and was past Master in 1973 and 1996.
Jacob Winfred Tracer received a 50-year pin for his service in the Masons.