Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Director Scott Roberts, left, with Bonnie Carter (with flowers). Other former students, from left: Eileen Fronterhouse, Larry Foxworthy, Roxie McGowen and Elaine Campbell.

A retired Texas County school teacher was honored Saturday with the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The recognition was announced as part of the organization’s annual banquet.

Bonnie Carter, whose teaching career continues today as she tutors students, received the award. Carter retired from public education in 1994, but still helps those needing extra attention with their studies.

It’s estimated that she has taught more than 1,300 students over the years. Elaine Campbell, a teaching colleague, hailed Carter, who began teaching at age 18. Former students at rural schools joined the honoree on the stage, including Eileen Fronterhouse, who described life in the classroom with her former instructor.

Carter, along with her late husband, Harvey, also affected the lives of youth through the local Little League program. A field is named in their honor.

Since retirement, Carter has clipped thousands of Houston Herald stories highlighting the achievements of county residents, Campbell said. She picks up two copies on Wednesday afternoon as the presses start to roll, gets her scissors out, laminates and mails about 40 to 50 each week to those mentioned on the newsprint, she said.

Carter’s presentation was the highlight of the evening, which also included a murder mystery play performed by Houston High School students. A table decoration contest also generated winners: Infinite Entertainment and Girl Scouts, first; one of the City of Houston entries, second; and The Animal Shelter of Texas County, third.

Two Houston businesses – Southern Missouri Financial Group and Infinite Entertainment – were honored as the outstanding businesses for 2009. New members also were recognized at the community building gathering, which drew nearly a full house. Pam Kell, the chamber’s administrative assistant who has been overseeing the organization in the absence of a director, also was honored. A new chamber head is expected to be named in March.

Mayor Steve Hutcheson administered the oath of office to members of the chamber board. They are: Scott Roberts, president; Kevin McGowen, first vice president; Rick Vermillion, second vice president; Gayla Bratton, secretary; Eric Wells, treasurer; and Travis Rector, Michelle Vivero, Bill Bridges and Tammy Cantrell, board members.

A video of Carter’s presentation and slideshow from the evening appears at www.houstonherald.com.

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