Jessica Smolsky was teaching her class about Atomic Structure when Principal Ben Darley entered her classroom, and told her she had some visitors.
What happened next is something Smolsky will likely never forget.
The publisher of Little Rock Family Magazine announced to her students, and their stunned teacher, that she had been named LR Family Magazine's 2016 "Amazing Educator." Then he presented Smolsky with a $1,000 check.
"Is this even real?" Smolsky said, looking in disbelief at her Principal and the other team of administrators who had gathered at the back of the classroom to watch the presentation. "I cannot even believe this."
Smolsky, the winner in the Middle School/Junior High division, joins only three other teachers in the state as this year's "Amazing Educator" Recipient. Her story will be featured in Little Rock Family Magazine's January edition.
Corporate sponsors Delta Dental, Henderson State University, and McDonald's partner with the magazine for this award, which strives to encourage teachers and give back to education in local communities.
Conway Junior High Assistant Principal Trinina Pouncy nominated Smolsky for the award, saying she is more than deserving of the recognition.
"Jessica is a true teacher-leader," says Pouncy. "She takes an active interest in the success of her students and Conway Junior High as a whole. She is an example of humility and selflessness, and does everything she does with precision and energy."