She was quite surprised to see me and the NewsChannel 3's cameras. I quickly assured her it was for good news, that I received an email from one of her students, Lemarie King, who read a portion of it:
"Mrs. Culpepper is a wonderful teacher here at Hugo A. Owens Middle School. She's always ready to teach us students new things. Nothing ever brings her down. She is always smiling and just likes to be herself."
Culpepper fought back tears while she listened and then responded, "I love being a teacher, and it makes me feel like what I'm doing is what I was born to do."
Culpepper also says she believes she connects with her students because of the tone she sets in her classroom. "But I feel like when we're in this in room, it becomes a safe place and I try to establish that from the very beginning where my students feel they can totally be themselves because I'm myself. I'm a very unusual kind of person and I'm not afraid to be myself.
Her students wholeheartedly agree.
Mrs. Culpepper is a very unusual teacher, but that's what makes her special and allows her to make learning fun, which is why we presented her with a NewsChannel 3 People Taking Action Award along with a $100 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.
Culpepper was quick to point out, "I just have to say, this is not just me, this is what teachers do and I love the teachers at Hugo Owens Middle School and this is what we come here to do everyday."