Story courtesy of Johnston County Schools


SELMA - Gina Bedford, a veteran teacher at Selma Middle School in Johnston County, reached out to the world via Facebook to inspire her students before their end-of-grade tests, and the results were astonishing.

More than 50 people from across the globe submitted photos of themselves at various landmarks and exotic locations holding handmade signs that contained the school's motto, “Learn more. Do more. Be more.” They included well wishes for the success of the Selma Vikings on their EOG tests, which began this week.

Students saw several photos from around the globe with encouraging messages from Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Japan, Peru, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, and Sweden.

Domestically they received messages from 20 states including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Bedford attributed the idea to a Facebook group called “My Love For You Is So Big It Has Reached…,” where people in the group exchange pictures from various parts of the world for others to send messages of love and hope.

“After seeing the messages that were being posted I thought it would be a really great idea to be able to offer our kids messages of encouragement from around the world,” said Bedford, who teaches language arts.

“I also wanted to be able to show them that there is more to this world than what we can just see out of our front doors, “she said. “The most important message is that no matter how small we may see ourselves in itty bitty Selma, N.C., there are people around the world that were willing to send our students messages of support for their education and learning.”

Bedford said that the locations of some of the messages referred to popular books and authors. The students were able to see photos from District 12 from “The Hunger Games,” located in Henry Mill River, N.C.; the Cullen’s house from “Twilight,” located in Portland, Ore.; the Forbidden Forest from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,” located in Buckinghamshire County, England; William Shakespeare’s home in Warwickshire County in England; and Stephen King’s home in Bangor, Maine.

"This was a work of love from me to my babies here at Selma Middle," Bedford said. “I want them to realize if we learn more ... do more ... and be more, one day we will be able to see more."

Bedford has worked at Selma Middle School for over a decade and continues to put her heart and soul into the school and the success of all students.

Pictures poured in from famous places and landmarks around the world including:

  • District 12 from “The Hunger Games,” located in Henry Mill River, NC
  • Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
  • Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
  • Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Stonehenge in England

VIDEO: Selma Middle teacher creates international EOG inspiration

PHOTOS: See the pictures from around the world