But the gathering was for a different celebration.
Bellevue, Wash.-based financial services company Symetra Financial and the Falcons, in partnership with SunTrust Bank, recognized fourth-grade teacher Gaelon Farquharson as one of their 16 Heroes in the Classroom.
The honor netted the school $1,000 for supplies in Farquharson’s name, an autographed Julio Jones jersey, and tickets and a VIP experience for the Falcons’ Sept. 15 home opener against the St. Louis Rams.
The Heroes program is in its fourth year in the Atlanta area and seeks to recognize nominated teachers who balance the core curriculum with students’ individual needs, build trust among students, parents, and the community, and invest in their students’ long-term success.
According to Principal Jay Fowler, Farquharson goes above and beyond when it comes to educating students.
“Mr. Farquharson is an amazing teacher,” Fowler said in a statement. “He truly does whatever it takes to see his students succeed. He engages parents in a meaningful way and the students and faculty adore him.”
Several parents responsible for nominating Farquharson attended and spoke.
Farquharson said in a statement what it meant to receive the recognition.
“It reminds me that being a teacher is so much more than teaching,” he said. “I must continue to touch the minds and hearts of my students and their families on more than just an academic level.”
Embarking on his sixth year as a teacher, Farquharson said he has seen many positive transformations with regards to increasing achievement levels for his students.
He said seeing it take place is one of his greatest rewards and it is a direct correlation to his motto, “Teach by example and elevate the minds of my students.”
“My favorite part of my career is when I know my students are understanding, learning, and growing as a result,” Farquharson said.
Farquharson is the fourth teacher in Henry County Schools to receive this award in the past three years.
Richard Allen of Austin Road Elementary, Shaun Jones of Eagle’s Landing High School and Fredrick Braswell of Hampton Middle were honored during the previous two school years.