Simply put, I am in awe of teachers. My mother is a retired teacher, and growing up I saw first-hand just how much she put into her career. Long hours of preparation, constantly continuing her education, spending a lot of her own money to make her students' classroom experience the best it could be. To this day I still can't figure out how she pulled off such devotion to her job and still provided a full childhood of memories and experiences for my brother and I, but I guess that is just the superpower of a teacher.

Now that I am a parent, I get to see the flip side of a teacher. My children have been fortunate enough to have some amazing teachers already in their first few years of school, but I'm still amazed every day by what they have learned, and how their teachers have managed to spark the love for school.

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When I read the Hometown Hero nomination letter we received from a grateful parent named Hannah Wearsch about her son's teacher at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Rockford, Mrs. Schmidt, I could totally feel the gratitude...

Angela Schmidt is my son's second grade teacher at Marshall Elementary school. All teachers are working extra hard right now with the added covid measures and trying to get kids caught up but Mrs. Schmidt goes beyond the call of duty. My son has made strides this year academically already due to her connection and commitment but she also makes school and learning fun. She takes the children outside for added masks breaks and even brings in her own sleds from home to take them sledding! Her love for teaching and for our children shines through in everything she does. The world would be a much better place if every student got to experience a teacher like Mrs. Schmidt.

Mrs. Schmidt, as a thank you for the amazing difference you make in your students' lives, we are giving you a $100 Amazon gift card thanks to Gustafson's Furniture & Mattress so that you can buy something that makes your world a better place. We totally wish all teachers could be just like you too.

Do you have an inspiring teacher or person in your life that deserves next week's Hometown Hero honor? Nominate them here.

Past Hometown Hero Award Winners

READ MORE: Inspiring Stories From the Coronavirus Pandemic