Strong loves career she fell into 26 years ago

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Part of an ongoing series featuring the teachers nominated for Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year honors.

Sylvia Strong has been an educator for more than 26 years, but being a teacher is something she kind fell into.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“I decided to become a teacher when I couldn’t find another job,” Strong said.  “I know that sounds odd, but it’s true. When I was in elementary, junior high, and high school, I really enjoyed math. I was good at it. I even helped my friend’s study, do their homework, and eventually pass their classes. It came easy to me and I was able to put it on a level that my friends understood. After high school graduation, I considered majoring in mathematics in college but I was concerned more with making ‘lots of money.’ So I majored in computer science thinking it would be easier to find a job, but held on to my love of math and minored in mathematics. As I completed my education, I started applying for jobs everywhere I could. None of my applications were successful. A family friend, who was a principal at a local high school, askd me if I would consider applying for a high school math teaching position at his school. I applied for the job and got it. When I look back, teaching is what I was meant to do. It is what I did even as a young child. It is what I enjoyed. I took the long way, but I came back to what I was created for. I became a teacher.”

Strong spent 22 years teaching math at Rebul Academy before becoming a math teacher at Warren Central High School more than four years ago. She said there are a number of things she enjoys about teaching.

“Pushing a student to work hard and seeing that student achieve success makes me feel full of pride,” the Mississippi College graduate said. “Taking students who usually don’t have to work as hard and challenging them to go further is so fun. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of being a teacher is just creating relationships with all of my students. Children need to know that they have someone who wants them to succeed.”

Strong said her reaction to being nominated as Teacher of the Year from WCHS “was one of humility.”

“I am honored to represent my school and fellow teachers,” Strong said. “Any one of the teachers at Warren Central is qualified to be Teacher of the Year. Every teacher goes above and beyond what is required, or even what is expected, to make sure their students are receiving the best possible instruction. I am just fortunate to have been the one chosen.”

The Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce will choose one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year at the chamber luncheon Feb. 20. The winner of each award will receive $1,000 from Ameristar Casino and the runner-up for each award will receive $500 from Mutual Credit Union.

She said she would be honored to represent teachers everywhere if chosen Teacher of the Year.

“Teachers have one of the most important jobs in this world,” Strong said. “We have a major role in the process of the development of a child’s growth to adulthood and beyond. If I were chosen, it would mean that I am helping children, I am feeding a child’s mind, and I am doing what I was created to do.”