PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- This extraordinary end to the school year is winding down, but the appreciation for our teachers is not. We surprised a third grade teacher from Terramar Academy of the Arts in Peoria.

One by one, Jackie Fern's colleagues logged onto our online meeting, 15 minutes before Miss Fern was told to check in. Then, once the third grader who nominated her teacher, Hanna Wolford, jumped into the meeting, we were ready for our surprise.

"Here she comes," said Sharon Weiser, Miss Fern's principal, after shushing everyone.

"Good morning! How are you sunshine?" asked Ms. Weiser.

Miss Fern thought she had a meeting with her principal and perhaps a few other people. She was surprised to see more than a dozen people from her school and the Deer Valley Unified School District on the video meeting.

"This meeting actually has nothing to do with your school, per se," Gina Maravilla explained to Miss Fern. "This meeting is actually just focused on you. We called this meeting together because we want to award you a Silver Apple. Congratulations!"

The shock could be seen on Miss Fern's face. "My heart is pounding. I want to cry. Wow."

At that point, Miss Fern still did not know all that we have in store for her. Her student, Hanna, read the letter she wrote, nominating her teacher.

"There are many reasons why I love my teacher, Miss Fern. First, she never gets mad at us," read Hanna, as Miss Fern teared up. "Next, she has taught me and my class lessons from when she was young. Also, every morning we do deep breathing exercises together and the positive thoughts pledge. That's all the reasons why I think Miss Fern should get the Silver Apple Award. Sincerely, Hanna Wolford."

"Hanna nailed it. Jackie is a solid academic teacher. She teaches all of our content," explains Weiser. "We're very proud of her for that. But her ability to meet the emotional needs of kids so they can learn the academic pieces that we set up for them is what makes her stellar."

"I've always loved kids, and I've had really great teachers along the way," said Miss Fern. "Also, I've had some not so good teachers along the way that I knew I wanted to be different from. And I really want make a difference in kids' lives."

We had yet another surprise for Miss Fern.

"We partner with the Arizona Dairy Council. They are really big supporters of education," Maravilla told Miss Fern. "So they support the Silver Apple Award. So in addition to the Silver Apple Award, from the Dairy Council, we also want to award you $1000."

Both Hanna and Miss Fern have said that distance learning has been tough on them, personally -- Hanna missing her teacher and classmates, Miss Fern missing connecting with her students.


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