KILLEEN, TX — Teachers change the lives of millions of students every day. Their impact reaching beyond the classroom and after a year like 2020, this National Teachers Appreciation Week means more than before.
Throughout the week-long celebration, we will be highlighting teachers across Central Texas. Today's winner from Killeen ISD is Angela Thomas a teacher at Trimmier Elementary.
4400 Success Dr. is where you can find Trimmier Elementary. It’s also where Angela Thomas has been for the past 18 years. Today, she got a surprise she wasn’t quite expecting.
"Are you able to come see me in my office?" asked Principal Beckie Avery.
Most times when you get a call to go to the principal's office, it's never good. However, in this case, it was a welcomed surprise.
Angela Thomas is a special education teacher, who pours her heart and soul into her students. She says this year she was faced with countless challenges.
Thomas said, "We were only taught one way of teaching the kids and then we all had to learn the new way the virtual way so it’s been very trying."
So, when she heard about our contest, she wasted no time signing up before it closed on April 28th.
In her submission video Thomas said, " I think that if I win this money, it will greatly help the diversified population that I teach. The students in my class are autistic or there is a suspicion of autism. There are certain tools that you have to have on hand and I've spent a good amount of money making sure my kids have everything they need. "
Thomas is already planning to spend all $500 bucks, on her students.
"This right here will enable me to update some of the things I have in the classroom and help my kids be successful," said Thomas.
"She is showing up every day because she knows her kids are there.. her heart for kids shines through every day," said Principal Avery.
Avery said Thomas is dedicated to teaching special needs students and goes the distance and then some to ensure they are successful.
"From the very beginning, she does everything to advocate for her kiddos. Just getting parents to come in giving them the supplies that they need if they were nervous bringing them in for a face-to-face. She makes sure that what they need they have," said Avery.
Avery said she is inspired every day by the countless hours her teachers work to give their students a top-tier education.
Avery said, "Watching my teachers just give their all gives me the inspiration to continue. This year has just been so challenging but at the end of the day no matter the challenges that we’ve had they always leave with smiles on their face. Some of them are tired, we are tired because we’re working so hard but they just take the challenge and run with it."
Supplies for science experiments, new toys for the sensory tub, and extending her social skills library are just a few things Thomas plans on updating.
"I'm just so happy! I can't believe this," said Thomas.
As for her fellow teachers, Thomas wants to remind them they are almost to the finish line.
"Hang in there and keep going and if you get a chance you could win this too!"
Thomas is getting her master's this weekend from Concordia University in Nebraska in Education, with a concentration in Trauma and Resilience. She says this is just another way she can better serve her students.