MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - A first grade teacher at Mt. Carmel Elementary is in the running for Alabama's Teacher of the Year award.
Mary Tate has spent 17 years in the public school system.
"It's the hardest, most time consuming, stressful, fabulous, amazing, profitable, joyful thing you will ever do," said Tate. "But you must be passionate about it. You must be so invested in it that no matter what comes, the children are why you stay."
That's why she stays.
"My gift is working with kids, and I get to do it every day," said Tate.
For the last 17 years, that's what Tate has been doing. Teaching, loving and encouraging her students is what she says she loves most.
"I'm a little girl from New Market, this doesn't happen to little girls from New Market," said Tate.
She said being a teacher has been a dream all of her life, but this award, is just proof of what she's made to do.
State Board of Education member, Mary Scott Hunter, honored Tate on Friday with her students.