Virginia Beach teacher honored for her work with Operation Smile club

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - There are some bright, well meaning, community oriented students at Princess Ann Middle School. I learned that on my visit there to give out a People Taking Action award.

I'm talking about the Operation Smile club at Princess Anne Middle school.

These students spend their lunch breaks and free time after school making books and toys to send to kids overseas.

Student Grant Rose tells us about one of the toys they're making to give to kids after surgery, "So we wanted to make two experiences with the 3D printed car, it has wheels that can roll, and a mirror so they can see their new smile when they wake up.”

Madison Ritchie is also in the club, “We are making these waterproof bags and everybody’s projects will end up going in here. When we send them over for the kids that get out of surgery, and we’re doing it just to make people happy," she said.

Teacher Lisa Trojnar is one of the sponsors of the club, “These kids have made me so proud, they should be proud, the things  they’re doing, they’re changing lives," she said.

While these students are doing great things, today’s people taking action award does not go to them, it goes to Mrs. Constance Solheim, an English teacher who, sponsored the club.

Trojnar fights back tears talking about the club’s leader Mrs. Solheim, who battled with cancer for years and passed away just a few months ago.

Her daughter Erica came out to accept the award on her behalf and to accept a $300 gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.

The program meant everything to Solheim especially when she got sick.

There's no doubt her students miss her too. “She was a very amazing lady and she loved every student that she taught. she was an amazing teacher and had a lot of passion for what she did," one student said.

And that passion is reflected in all of these youngsters who are carrying on her work with dedication and enthusiasm for giving back.

“Its great being here with all of them because it reminds me of her,” says her daughter.