TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) − An AZ Aspire Academy's 12th grade English teacher was in for a big surprise when she walked into her classroom.

JoAnna Cox was awarded the 3TV's Silver Apple Award for excellence in education. The Dairy Council of Arizona awarded Ms. Cox a check for 500 dollars to use in her classroom.

Ms. Cox teaches at AZ Aspire Academy, a school with programs geared toward student with ADHD, autism, anxiety or giftedness. Brenna is a senior at AZ Aspire and nominated Ms. Cox.

Her entry read:

"My teacher is special because she is helping me prepare for college. I have a learning disability and I've struggled with reading comprehension. Because she's my English teacher she helps me find strategies that work best for me. She takes extra time to make sure I understand the lesson. With all these strategies I will have what it takes to go to college. I honestly don't know where I would be without her help."

That respect is reciprocated.

"She's an amazing student first and foremost. She's the sweetest kid that I've had the pleasure of teaching and interacting with. She strives to learn and wants to learn. She's always looking to further her knowledge," says Ms. Cox.

While the 12th grade teacher teaches English, the underlying lesson is always building their self confidence which is a struggle for most teenagers.

"It's a reiteration of you're awesome, remember that, you're really, really cool. Remember these are their teenage years when they're filled with self doubt and anxiety. You're a teenager, that's what's supposed to be happening," according to Cox.

However whatever she's teaching seems to resonate with her students, especially Brenna.

"She's an amazing teacher who does everything to help me."


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