RAINSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - 56 years and still going strong. One DeKalb County woman has spent that amount time doing something she's passionate about - teaching. Nina Thrash has taught hundreds of students over the last five decades. One of them wanted to recognize her efforts.
Alice Walker sent us an email about Nina Thrash. Here's part of what is said:
"Her main concern is to make sure people get their GED and walk across the stage. She pushed me to excel at age 63 to be the best I can be. The dedication to her students, family and life in general is overwhelming. She's my hero!"
With that nomination and $319, WHNT NEWS 19 went to the campus of Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville to Pay it Forward.
"She's just a very special lady," says Walker.
Walker says Thrash was a constant source of encouragement.
"She was special the first day I met her," explains Walker. "She really helped me. Because of my work schedule, I couldn't attend class every day, so she encouraged me to go ahead and study at home on the days I couldn't come."
Eventually, the hard work paid off. Walker got her GED and now she's got something else on her agenda.
"I hope she is not mad at me," says Walker jokingly as we prepared to surprise Thrash.
We walked in the conference room where Thrash was going over some classroom materials and presented her with $319 in cash.
"I appreciate that very much," says Thrash. "We'll put this to very good use for adult education."
Nina Thrash taught in the traditional classroom for over 30 years. She's been teaching adult education for 26 years.
"I just always like to help people," says Thrash. "That has been my goal to try to do something to help my students."
At 84 years old, she doesn't plan to slow down any time soon.
"I'm not old," says Thrash with a laugh. "You're not any older than you feel and I feel great!"