Florida Teachers Lead: Finding My Love of Learning

Posted on Apr 24th 2018 by Tony Jenkins

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I discovered my love of learning in fifth grade thanks to Mrs. McCoy. I was a student at the Douglas Anderson School in Jacksonville. Back then, first through 12th grade were housed in the same school.

My teachers during my first four years of school were very strict and stern in their approach, but Mrs. McCoy was completely different. She was more nurturing, loving, and positive in her teaching style, and it brought out the best in me.

It was the first time I saw education in a positive light, and I fell in love with learning.

Mrs. McCoy recognized that I was a strong writer for my age and encouraged me to enter a declamatory contest. I had never heard of such a contest, so this was something completely new and different for me. I wrote a personal composition, presented it to the school, and won the opportunity to be Douglas Anderson’s representative at the citywide competition. Her encouragement to take on a new challenge ignited my interest in English and writing.

When kids come from different socioeconomic backgrounds they can sometimes be stigmatized, and we may miss the unique skills they have or something in them that’s special. Teachers like Mrs. McCoy are able to recognize the talent in their students, encourage it, and help it grow. She took the time to make sure I was getting what I needed to succeed.

Teachers face a difficult and challenging job each and every day, and I’m thankful for those who take time to nurture and invest in their students’ success the way Mrs. McCoy did in mine.

This is the first in a series of blogs sharing Florida Blue’s appreciation for our state’s teachers, who not only educate but also provide guidance and inspiration to our next generation. Florida Blue is a proud supporter of Florida’s Teacher of the Year program, which honors and recognizes excellence in teaching, supports continued learning for all educators and highlights the importance and impact of the profession.


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Tony Jenkins

Tony is the Market President for the Central Florida Region of Florida Blue. Prior to BCBSF, Jenkins served as Director of Diversity for CSX Corporation, the largest rail network in the eastern United States. Before joining CSX, Jenkins spent 20 years with the Walt Disney World Company in various management roles. Tony is very active in the Orlando Community. He is the past Chair for United Arts of Central Florida and the current board Chair for Florida Institute for Community Studies. He also currently serves on the Boards of The Central Florida Partnership, Orlando Economic Development Commission, Florida Citrus Sports, the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness and he is a Board Trustee at Stetson University. In January, 2014, Tony was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, GA.

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