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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — An anonymous student within the walls of New Hanover High School wanted his or her teacher to be recognized. So, we showed up to surprise math teacher Jessica Marks.

She was surprised to see us and emotionally impacted by it all. “It makes me feel really good actually,” she said through tears. “It makes me want to cry because these kids are half my life. I love everything…I wouldn’t come if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t show up to work everyday.”

Ms. Marks hopes each day she shows up, another chair doesn’t go empty. She believes in her students and knows they want a good education.

The nomination sent to WWAY pointed out incidents in which students made headlines for the wrong reasons; it referenced gangs and violence. But it also pointed to Ms. Marks and said she doesn’t let any teen fall through the cracks.

“My students are wonderful. They’re smart, they’re driven,” she explained. “They wouldn’t come to school if they didn’t want a good education thats our job as teachers to give them what they need.”

Student Keshaun McCallum described Ms. Marks, “She’s one of those teachers who likes to keep everybody lifted up,” he said. “She keeps everybody active so we can have a better learning environment.”

Ms. Marks is the 5th teacher the students have cycled through this year alone, but she said she’s here to stay. Because she loves her students.

“All of my kids make me so happy,” she said. “This is what teachings about: showing more of my relationship side with them rather than teaching them Math, which some of them might not like that we have to teach them.”

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