KANSAS CITY, Mo. — You've probably heard of the quote, "It takes a village to raise a child."
For Kansas City mom, Marla Gibson, George Jefferson is part of her village.
"That village is having those people in your life and having those people in your child's life can encourage them, not just today...not just tomorrow, but their future," Gibson said. "I know a lot of kids don't see it now, but as they get older and they go to college and things like that I really think he's going to be one of those teachers that stands out that says, ok, I'm so glad I had Mr. Jefferson as the teacher."
George Jefferson is a fourth grade teacher at University Academy. He's currently in his eighth year of teaching.
Gibson said Jefferson is able to incorporate lessons that take children beyond the four walls of the classroom.
"He wants them to understand where they fit in society, what they can do to try to have their voices heard in society," Gibson said. "He does such a great job of encouraging these children."
The words she used to describe him were humble, passionate and an encourager.
"And has the patience of Job because I don't think I could be an educator seriously," Gibson said with a laugh.
"When I told my daughter, well first of all I had to tell her, 'It's a secret, he doesn't know so stay quiet, don't tell him.' I told her I said, 'You know he could possibly win $500,' I was like, 'What do you think he would do if he won?' She was like, 'He probably throw a pizza party for us or probably do something for us. He wouldn't do anything for himself," Gibson said. "She said he always does stuff for us and tries to make sure that we, you know, that we're okay. And I'm like, that is called, that is sacrifice, that is something you don't see a lot."
Before the surprise announcement, 41 Action News asked Jefferson if someone were to give him $500, what would he do with it.
"I would definitely be extremely grateful," Jefferson said. "But I think my next thought would see how do my students want to use this. Where do we want to put this into our classroom, because I think that they'll have amazing answers."
After hearing he was a winner for One Class at a Time, he laughed and said he was grateful.
"I think they're going to want to go on a field trip," Jefferson said.
Jefferson says his students have made an impact on his life.
"There's so many days, so many weeks where, you know, adults are cool and all, but we don't have the same type of ambition," Jefferson said. "I really do enjoy seeing the world through their fresh eyes and hearing the possibilities that they imagine, and the kind of like the path that they plan on setting forward for themselves."
Here are a few words from Gibson's nomination:
"With every student interaction, every lesson and every conversation it is apparent that his passion for educating young scholars is embedded in his soul. For example, my daughter (currently a student in his class) struggled with feeling embarrassed if she didn't give the right answer to a question in class. In fact, she would shut down and shy away from participating. Mr. Jefferson honed in on her behavior and made sure she knew her participation was valuable."
The nomination ended by stating: "As the mother of an African American child, it brings my heart joy to see such a strong, humble and educated African-American male teaching my daughter. It takes a village to raise a child. I am so grateful that George Jefferson is a part of my village."
After listening to the nomination, Jefferson said it was reassuring.
"Wow, wow that was, that was phenomenal. Oh my goodness," Jefferson said. "One of my goals was to make sure that we could still have a strong community in the pandemic and in virtual, and that we're in this together. So that was super reassuring."
Gibson said she cannot thank Jefferson enough for being a phenomenal teacher to her daughter.
"I don't want to get emotional cause I feel like I want to cry," Gibson said. "But I want to tell him, thank you thank you for being what our kids need, what our kids need to see."
To nominate a teacher you believe deserves a $500 gift card for going the extra mile and their efforts, click visit our One Class at a Time nomination form.
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