October 2022 Winner - Belinda Matlock:(Lamar School)


Meridian Family of Stations -

Meridian Star Article

Nearly 50 years of teaching have come full circle for Belinda Matlock.

Matlock, who teaches 6th-grade science at Lamar School, is the first recipient of the new school year to receive the Golden Apple Award.

The moment was extra special to Matlock, because the nomination came from her former student Jon Pollard, who she first taught in the fourth grade.

"Winning this award is overwhelming, and it is such an unexpected honor," Matlock said when the award was announced at the school on Wednesday.

"The biggest honor is that my former student nominated me for this, and it has really come full circle for me to have his child in my class today, so it's just beyond my wildest imagination to be at this point."

A native of Pelahatchie, Matlock never thought she would become an educator, let alone teach for almost 50 years.

"I really didn't think I wanted to teach at first," Matlock said. "I grew up in a home of teachers, so when I graduated high school, I vowed that I would never step foot in a classroom, but God had other plans for me and this is where I was meant to be."

Matlock's extensive teaching career began at Northeast Elementary, where she taught for 20 years. She moved to Northeast Middle for an additional nine years before retiring from the public school system.

Now at Lamar, Matlock has spent almost 21 years teaching science to elementary and middle school students.

"I hope that I've been the same kind of teacher from the very beginning, but I still think there's room for me to improve," she said. "One thing that hasn't changed is my love of working with kids, and I don't ever take that for granted."

It's no secret that science isn't the most exciting subject, but Matlock says that over the years, she has found unique ways to make her teachings fun and engaging for her students.

"When I'm teaching, I like to see my student's faces to see what grabs their attention," Matlock said. But when they're working, and I see that light bulb turn on, it brings me so much joy.

"Even if I'd never received any awards, seeing those light bulbs makes me go each day," she added.

With almost 50 years under her belt, Matlock hopes that when children leave her classroom, they have the tools to succeed.

"I used to give pencils with the message printed on it that said, 'I like myself, I can think for myself, and there's no problem so great it can't be solved'."

"I don't need to teach them things to think; I need to teach them how to think and solve problems and remind them that they can be whatever they want to be," Matlock added.