An educator in the Harrison County School District has been named the Mississippi VFW High School Teacher of the Year. D’Iberville High School Coach Cragin Gilbert received his certificate and prize from a VFW representative this week. He won at the district and regional levels this past May and learned about the state honor in June.
The VFW Citizenship Education Teacher Award recognizes teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching patriotism and good citizenship. Coach Gilbert is a history and community service teacher at D’Iberville High. He is also the school’s head baseball coach.
“It’s humbling to be recognized by veterans who have served our country,” said Coach Gilbert. “I know what war means to our community in D’Iberville, our state, and our nation. I also appreciate the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy what we have here in the United States. We need to learn from the past so we can move forward in the future.”
Coach Gilbert credits his late grandfathers for instilling in him pride in his country. He remembers hearing stories about their service over the years, and he still keeps the letters they wrote in a safe place.
His maternal grandfather, James Thomas, was a World War II Marine who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima. His paternal grandfather, Cragin Gilbert, served in the Army and fought in the European theatre. He was captured by the Nazis and spent eight months as a POW.
Coach Gilbert understands the importance of instilling in his students patriotism, positive values, and what it means to be a good American. Every year, his community service students team-up with the school’s JROTC cadets to organize a Veteran’s Day breakfast. Every week, you will find his students tutoring younger students, sprucing up campuses in the district, or volunteering on other projects.
“My greatest joy is watching my students succeed, seeing them start with a goal in mind and helping them achieve that goal. I also enjoy seeing them become good citizens of this country.”
Coach Gilbert is in his tenth year of teaching and coaching. He was nominated for the VFW award by D’Iberville High School Assistant Principal Roman Holmes.