The Killeen Area Alliance of Black School Educators honored state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, with its 2014 Humanitarian of the Year award on Friday.

Aycock, who serves as the chairman of the Texas Public Education Committee, was humbled and grateful to receive the award during the alliances’ eighth annual Scholarship and Recognition Banquet at the Courtyard by Marriott.

“Education changes lives forever and for the better,” Aycock said.

Aycock expressed optimism about education in Texas. “I think our future is bright because Texas is very resilient and we’re doing better than many states, and I think we’ll continue to do as well or better in the future.”

The Teacher of the Year award went to Erica Bracey, a first-grade teacher at Harker Heights Elementary School. She has spent 10 years at the school, but to her teaching doesn’t feel like work.

“I just love the children because they always put a smile on my face,” Bracey said.

Charles E. Patterson, former Killeen Independent School superintendent, was

the guest speaker and he compared Aycock to David going up against Goliath in in the fight to pass House Bill 5 during the last legislative session.

“Dr. Aycock is a man of integrity, honesty and he stands on his word. He fought the giant and won for the children of Texas,” Patterson said.

A total of $8,500 in scholarships were awarded to students for community service and academic excellence. Receiptants of $1,000 scholarships included Darin Garrett, Harker Heights High School; Monea Traver, Ellison High School; Mahzzy D. Arreola, Killeen High School; and Bryanna Briley and Anessa A. Pitts of Shoemaker High School.

Four $500 scholarships went to Georgina Kanesha Quillas and Peyton Beebe of Pathway Academic Campus, and Darin Garrett and Joy Patrica Morton, both of Harker Heights High School.

Awards for schools’ reading and writing programs were given to local elementary schools. Four schools received $1,000: Willow Springs Elementary School, West Ward Elementary School, Ira Cross Elementary School and Harker Heights Elementary School. Fowler Elementary School received $1,500, Timber Ridge Elementary School, $2,000 and Pathway Academic Campus, $3,000.

Fowler Elementary School Choir led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and its fifth-graders provided the evening’s musical entertainment.

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