Bonnie Wilson – Class of 1997
Language Arts Teacher, Hallyburton Academy

Hallyburton Academy, a part of the Burke County School System, is located in Drexel in the building that formerly housed Drexel High School and then later Drexel Junior High and Hallyburton Elementary. The students who attend Hallyburton Academy have fallen behind in their academic credits and are at risk for not graduating. On average, about 100 students from across Burke County are enrolled at the school, and currently, twelve people are on the faculty. The student/teacher ratio is much higher than in the regular classrooms, and the administration, faculty, and staff there are able to give them more individual attention, and they work especially hard to help these young people succeed. The emphasis there is always on positivity, as people who drive by can see from the inspirational sayings that are regularly posted on the marquee outside the building.

Bonnie Wilson currently serves as the language art teacher at Hallyburton. “I teach all grade levels, ninth grade through twelfth grade,” she explains. “It is certainly a challenge to work with these young people who have often not found success in their studies. But I really enjoy them, and I get such satisfaction in helping them reach their goals, especially for the ones who did not feel their goals were within reach.

“I also serve as the sponsor to the Interact Club, which is the high school version of Rotary International and is dedicated to serving the community. I also am graduation coordinator, and you can imagine how gratifying it is to see these young people succeed and finally culminate their high school experience by walking across that stage.”

Bonnie believes that she is the right person to teach these students. “High school was a difficult time for me, and I wanted to work with young people who may also be struggling. I did enjoy my high school English classes. Reading and writing always provided an outlet for me, so I felt that would be the best way to reach my goals.

“I had a job working in an office and thought I had finally found my ‘dream job.’ But it was miserable, so I decided to go back to school. While this may sound cliché, it was my mother who pushed me to continue my education. As a single mother, I didn’t think college was going to be an option, but my mother’s continued support and encouragement pushed me to do better for both myself and my son.”

Bonnie earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from Appalachian State and a master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. “I hope one day to attain my National Board Certification and go on to pursue a doctorate degree.”

Our public schools are filled with dedicated teachers who believe their calling in life is to give courage, inspiration, and hope to young people, many of whom did not feel hopeful before. Bonnie is an ideal example of a person who strives every day to meet the challenges ahead, inspiring not only success for her students but personal achievement as well.

Published January 2021

Hallyburton Academy

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