Four newest inductees to Educators Hall of Fame honored

10:00 am | September 18, 2013

A Saturday celebration brought recognition to the four newest inductees into the Carter County Imagination Library’s Photo by Brandon HicksEducators Hall of Fame.

Photo by Brandon HicksThis year’s additions were Frank Baker and Willie Church for the Elizabethton City School system and Kate Ensor and John Hardin for the Carter County School system.

Master of ceremonies Josh Smith described Hardin as a “part of the Stoney Creek landscape.”

Hardin graduated from Unaka Elementary and Unaka High School. After attending college to become a teacher, he taught at Elizabethton High School for four years before going to Unaka High School to teach from 1969 until he retired in 2002. He taught vocational agriculture at both schools.

“A lot of people think agriculture is just farming, but it’s not,” Hardin said. “It’s all of the things that are related to producing food and fiber. It goes to making a living and pulling that living out of the Earth.”

In 1981, Hardin started the butchering and meat processing program at Unaka High. This program is unique in the state Photo by Brandon Hicksof Tennessee, with no other high school in the state offering the course.

Hardin said he started the program after seeing the need for it in the community.
Photo by Brandon Hicks
“One of the problems I’ve seen was there was no one around that did that,” he said. “I had students coming to me, asking for help to kill beef or hogs. It was something that was needed.”

Hardin was named Carter County’s Teacher of the Year in 1988, and the vocational building at UHS is named after him. He said the Hall of Fame recognition was an honor to him as well.

“Just to be mentioned with Ms. Kate and Willie Church is a great honor,” Hardin said, noting that he did not know Baker. “Kate was my teacher and then she was my colleague. I coached Willie and he was one of the finest men I ever knew.”

Hardin is also a member of Watauga Valley Freewill Baptist Church, where he is a trustee and taught Sunday School for 25 years.

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