Soukup Spirit Award

An elementary school honors a 5th-grade teacher one year after her tragic death.
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 5:28 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - One Greenville County School is honoring the legacy of a teacher who passed away last summer by spreading joy to its students.

Carli Soukup, a 5th-grade teacher at Mitchell Road Elementary, is remembered for her compassion, respect for others, and bubbly personality.

The “Soukup Spirit Award” is a new honor given to a rising 5th grader who embodies her character traits most.

“She was a light she brought the better in others around her,” said husband Ryan Soukup. “It wasn’t just that I observed this personality and she was a sweet girl. No, she made you better. I know personally, she made me better and I know people around me who were made better by Carli.”

The 33-year-old was killed in a biking accident while crossing the intersection at Sulpher Springs Road in June 2021.

Maggie Canavous was this year’s award winner. “It’s an honor, I was very surprised,” she said.

Ryan said Maggie was the perfect candidate. “Very much of the same vein of Carli. She had that confidence, Carli had that confidence about her. That girl lit up and she probably knew in the back of her mind that she probably deserved the award.”

The physical award came in the form of a small alligator plush. Carli was a graduate of Florida University. Maggie will also have a Gator’s baseball jersey, with “Soukup” engraved on the back, hanging in her 5th-grade classroom next year as a reminder to all students of the award.

At the center of the elementary school sits a memorial garden for Carli. That is where a plaque will hang with the winner’s names.