LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Out of thousands of applicants around the state, one Brunswick County teacher never expected to be nominated for a hero award much less win.
Lincoln Elementary School’s Elise Barrett was one of ten teachers around North Carolina who won the NC School Heroes contest sponsored by the North Carolina Education Lottery.
Barrett won ten thousand dollars for her school. She says she knew just how to spread the wealth.
“I was like this is my job,” Barrett said. “It’s my job to take care of my kids and my students.”
Teaching is second nature to Barrett. It seemed crazy to her that she would win an award for it.
“I was like, ‘there’s been a thousand people that have been nominated,'” Barrett said.
When Hurricane Florence left so many people around her with nothing, she jumped right in to help out.
“We filled up a huge U-Haul and brought a big U-Haul to the school,” Barrett said. “We had teachers that were incredible and came out and supported. We made a bunch of home visits and raised a bunch of money, and we just did whatever humanly possible to support all our kids during that time.”
A friend nominated the fifth grade reading teacher for the lottery contest.
Out of more than 6,000 teachers, Barrett was one of the 10 winners gifted $10,000 for her school.
“I really wanted it to go back to not just something that is going to go outdated, or something we’re just going to run through as a school, but something that will continuously impact our students,” Barrett said.
Another teacher had an idea.
“Car rider is something that our staff has struggled with,” first grade teacher Raquel Hogan said. “It takes a long time.”
Hogan found a new student pickup system that she wanted to try out at Lincoln.
“A lot of our families don’t have the money, but they deserve for their child to be safe,” Hogan said. “We don’t really have it in our budget as well, so this money would just be life-changing for us.”
With the money Barrett won and Hogan’s idea, the two teachers teamed up to to make this possible.
Barrett could not stress enough that nobody could have done it alone.
“Our whole school really did it for everyone,” Barrett said.
Along with the check for her school, Barrett won $10,000 of her own. She hopes to put it toward a home after losing things of her own in Florence.
Barrett and Hogan hope to have the new car rider system in place for the next school year.