LAGRANGE, Lenoir County - A local Marine Corps veteran turned science teacher is receiving a huge honor later this month.
Sequoia Aldridge taught the last two years at E.B. Frink Middle School in La Grange since retiring after a 30-year career with the Marines where she rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5. She is moving to Jacksonville Commons Middle School this fall.
She found out earlier this summer that despite her relatively short time in her new career, she is being honored by a national nonprofit titled exactly that - Honored. The organization celebrates one exceptional teacher each month, and Aldridge was selected, with Atlantic contributing editor Andrew Exum, who is also a veteran, penning her profile.
After ending her time in the military, Aldridge said she wasn't done giving back to the community around her.
"This affirms to me that I really am making a difference," she said. "Every day when I walk in this building and the kids come up and give me a hug, and they go 'hey Mrs. Aldridge!' Or if I'm absent they're like 'Mrs. Aldridge don't leave us again.' It makes you feel wonderful, and good - it's rejuvenating."
She hopes to be able to one day mentor younger teachers as well as helping students in the classroom.
The award Aldridge received comes with more than just the recognition, but also a $5,000 cash prize.