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Emily Hester teaches business education at Red Bay High School.

Teaching from experience

Childhood dreams can turn into lifetime goals, but the journey to that goal isn’t always clear cut. Emily Hester discovered this when she was in college and facing two different career paths. Ultimately, her decision led her back to her childhood dream of teaching.

“I used to ‘play school’ when I was little and just knew that was what I was going to do,” Hester said.

When Hester was in college at Athens State University, she was a teller at CB&S Bank, which she said was another dream of hers, besides teaching. She was already taking education classes to become a teacher when she was offered a promotion to the audit department of the bank.

“Not knowing the plans God had in store for me, and after many prayers, I decided to accept the job and change my degree to business, as was required to accept this position,” she said.

Hester said she enjoyed the five-plus years she worked at the bank as an internal auditor, and she would not have been prepared to take the job of business education teacher at Red Bay High School without the experience she gained from the bank, along with her education.

“With her experience in the business industry, she will be able to bring empirical knowledge and practical skills into the classroom,” Principal Lance Mitchell said.

In her classroom, Hester teaches several business-based subjects, such as accounting, business finance, business tech essentials and career preparation.

“It’s going really good considering I started in the middle of the school year. I am making the most of it and trying to figure out what works best for each class, while also enjoying my time getting to know the students,” she said.

Hester’s goals for her students involve more than just business fundamentals.

“It is also just as important to be an advocate for them while being here to listen and help them when they need help. I feel like my calling here is greater than just teaching but to also leave a positive impact on each and every student that comes in my door,” Hester said.

Hester is a Red Bay alumnus, which Mitchell said he believes will aid her in being able to relate to the students and further the school’s impact on the community.