Lindsey Borcherding named Teacher of the Year

OKEECHOBEE — Seventh grade teacher Lindsey Borcherding was awarded Okeechobee Teacher of the Year at the annual Okeechobee teachers banquet held at KOA on Jan. 19.

Mrs. Borcherding was awarded $5,000, which was generously donated by MidFlorida Credit Union, and will go on to represent Okeechobee in the running for Teacher of the Year for the state of Florida.

From left to right: MidFlorida representative Amy Daniels, Okeechobee Teacher of the Year Lindsey Borcherding and Okeechobee Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy. Photo by Richard Marion.

Mrs. Borcherding teaches seventh grade math at Yearling Middle School.

“I’ve been nervous for the entire week leading up to the banquet,” said Mrs. Borcherding.

“My students have been really excited and they’ve been asking me ‘Did you win yet? Do you know how it’s going to go?’ So I can’t want to tell them on Monday. It was an exciting and emotional moment. I’m so honored.”

While accepting the award Mrs. Borcherding thanked everyone who had supported and helped her, especially her students.

From left to right: MidFlorida representative Amy Daniels, Okeechobee School Related Employee of the Year Jamie Bigford, and Okeechobee Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy. Photo by Richard Marion.

Seminole Elementary’s Jamie Bigford was named School Related Employee of the Year at the banquet and awarded $2,500, also donated by MidFlorida Credit Union.

Mrs. Bigford, who is a cafeteria manager, says she was excited and honored to receive the award.

Outstanding School Volunteer of the year went to Steve Dobbs as well as Wendy Watts in the senior category for their many hours spent helping students in Okeechobee. Mr. Watts helps his wife, Judy Watts, operate My Aunt’s House in Okeechobee and teaches woodworking classes during the summer. Mr. Dobbs is the outgoing president of the Band Boosters, recently donating his building to be used by the drama, art and band departments to use as a haunted house to raise funds.

“I don’t do things like this to get awards,” explained Mr. Dobbs. “I do it to help kids. We have one of the best band directors around in Clint LaFlam and I’d do whatever I can to help him and the students in band. I appreciate the honor and I thank you.”

OHS senior Artha Jonassaint, who has already received an early action offer from Yale University, spoke briefly at the beginning of the award ceremony.

From left to right: Okeechobee Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy, Steven Dobbs and Wendy Watts. Photo by Richard Marion.

“I’m where I’m at today because of all the teachers who have helped me,” said Miss Jonassaint. “I just want everyone in this room to know that whether you’re serving a warm meal, staying after school to help, or working the a.m. bus shift, you’re a hero to many students.”

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at

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