They’re designed to get a student riled up before a big game, but right off the bat it was clear, this pep rally was going to be different.
Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath not only showed up but showed off his dance moves. City leaders, the school superintendent, and other dignitaries all showed up for this pep rally at Grand Prairie High School.
California Businessman Lowell Milken showed up and promised someone would walk out with $25,000. Milken created the Milken Educator Award 35 years ago and gives out several each year to top educators around the country.
This year's recipient: Grand Prairie High School freshman algebra teacher Emily Dickerson.
She had no idea she won until they called her name.
"It's really rare as an adult to work somewhere where you like your boss, you love your coworkers, and you love your work with your students," said Dickerson moments after taking the microphone.
The award is nicknamed the Oscars for educators. Dickerson's students say she is totally deserving for how she makes them feel in the classroom.
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“She takes her time with students, it's more of like if you need one on one she'll give you one on one if you need interactive learning she does that,” said Micah Hogan, who first bragged about his teacher to the point it caught the attention of others at the school who nominated Dickerson for the honor.
Dickerson has been in the classroom for seven years. First at Dallas’ Lincoln High. She started with Teach For America and fell in love with being an educator and decided to stay after her commitment was through.
She said recognitions like this are so important to keep educators in the classroom.
“I wish we could regularly recognize every single teacher who is pouring into the lives of their students," said Dickerson.
Dickerson said she’ll use the money to pay down her mortgage, maybe put some in savings.
Milken award winners work together to share ideas, she's excited about the chance to network and grow with other awarded teachers across the nation.