MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - Chassity Smith is a fixture at Madison's Horizon Elementary School. This is her ninth year on the job.
After eight years teaching sixth grade, she's teaching fifth graders this year. Her teaching goals haven't changed at all.
"I try to just make a lot of things real life. I also try to love them like they're my own children," says Ms Smith.
Her efforts with all her students have been noticed. Mrs. Holly Troup nominated Chassity for this week's Tools for Teachers award of $319.
"I think it's amazing. I just come in and actually do my job. I love what I do, so I don't do it for any accolades. My accolades are what the children do inside the classroom," says Chassity.
Austin Troup is a senior at Madison's Bob Jones High School. He's headed to Alabama this fall, and he says one of the reasons he's been so successful is the year he spent with Ms. Smith.
"She really just set me up for the next level when I was moving on to the 7th grade," says Austin. He also says about the Tools For Teachers award, "I think it's great, and I know she deserves it."
Rodney Richardson is the principal at Horizon, and he's the one who actually surprised Chassity with the cash.
"She's a special teacher. I can tell you she makes real world connections with the students. She bring real life into the classroom," says Mr. Richardson.
As far as what Chassity will do with the Tools for Teachers award.
"I have no idea, I'm just overwhelmed and amazed," she says. She added one thing she does know, "I come in every day and just do my job."
That's what parents and administrators like to hear. In Chassity Smith's case, it's a job well done.