Teaching was always part of Faith Lapham’s life – both of her parents were educators – but it was a life-changing accident that pushed her to follow in their footsteps.
Lapham, who grew up in Aynor, was a dance major at Columbia College, dreaming of life on stage, when a car accident prior to the start of her sophomore year changed her short and long term plans. Lapham suffered a complex femur fracture in the crash and had to learn to walk again.
The accident forced Lapham to reevaluate her future and she did some work substitute teaching while going through the process, which helped make her decision easy. Lapham caught the teaching bug and Horry County students have been the beneficiary.
Her career began 23 years ago at Risen Christ Lutheran School and she has spent the last 15 years at Palmetto Bays Elementary School where she teaches fifth grade. Lapham’s passion for the job has never wavered and she continues to derive joy from helping her current students and seeing how her former pupils have progressed.
“I continue to be motivated by my students,” she said. “They are amazing, challenging little creatures that grow into remarkable young people. The highlights of my year are when former students return with a sibling or friend to a program or Open House and stop by to let me know what they are doing … I think of my classroom as a family and I hope to instill a sense of caring and ownership for learning and growing while they are within my walls.”
Lapham was named the Palmetto Bays Teacher of the Year in 2019 and recently earned another award as she was named Rockin’ Jump’s Teacher of the Month in March, an honor that earned her students a free jump pass at Myrtle Beach’s most popular trampoline park.
“I think they would be jumping up and down and high-fiving if we were together,” she said of how she thought her students would’ve reacted if they were all together. “This will be a wonderful thing for them to look forward to once this is over.”
When we emerge from our COVID-19 lockdown, Lapham, who enjoys the active lifestyle Rockin’ Jump promotes, is looking forward to being able to watch her son play lacrosse and her daughter, who is a student at Winthrop, dance.
But her mind is never far from the classroom.
“I love my teammates and the relationships that I have built with colleagues throughout the years,” Lapham said “What I find rewarding is I influence their future … I get to make learning fun and I hope to make a difference.”
Those are just a few of the reasons Lapham was named Teacher of the Month.