The students at Scottsboro's Brownwood Elementary school all gathered in the cafeteria. The assembly had just one purpose and that was to surprise first grade teacher Vickie McLaughlin. Vickie the WHNT News 19 "Tools For Teachers" winner.
The realization that it was happening came as Brownwood Principal, Gary Speers, counted out the $319. "I'm shocked, disbelief. Honestly, I don't know why someone chose me. I don't feel like I'm worthy of it," says Vickie.
Friends and family certainly disagreed with that. A big crowd showed up to enjoy the moment with Vickie to be part of the surprise. Wanda Killough, a friend of Vickie's mom, is the one who made the nomination. "You know when you entrust your child to another human being, you want the best. And, they got the best with Vickie," says Wanda.
Someone else who knows how special Vickie is, her boss. "Is there another word for dedicated? Because she is above and beyond dedication. She goes, she gives you that extra mile. She is so faithful, and not only that, she will correct you" said a laughing Principal Gary Speers.
And there was yet another person on hand for Vickie's surprise who understands exactly where this veteran teacher is coming from. "She's just willing to always look at these kids and try to nurture them and get them to where they need to be," says Vickie's husband, Todd.
As far as Vickie is concerned, teaching is pretty much its own reward. "I love it. I love children. I love watching them grow. In first grade, it's really why. When they walk in, they'll say I can't read. Well, they can. They just don't realize they can," says Vickie McLaughlin.
With Vickie as a teacher, the kids certainly do realize they can. Now, Vickie should realize just how much her friends, family and colleagues appreciate what she does.