Lexington County, SC (WLTX) - Every week News19 recognizes outstanding teachers in our community with the Golden Apple award.
This week's winner is Red Bank Elementary's Peggy Hippen, who has been in the classroom for almost four decades.
When the spotlight is on Hippen, she's a most woman.
"Thank you all, I am speechless," she said when she got her award.
But she's never at a loss for words when it comes to talking about her time teaching or her colleagues.
"We're here on weekends, we're here over the summer, we're here late at night," Hippen said.
And she believes just about everyone could take a lesson on understanding her students.
"I think sometimes people don't realize that my kids don't have the filters that other kids learn at a very early age so sometimes if we're mad we show that we're mad or if we're happy we show that we're happy and it might not be in the most appropriate way or the most appropriate place but that's us," she explained.
Hippen has a heart for kids with special challenges that dates back to her childhood.
"Family friends had children that were special needs down syndrome, severe and profound physically handicapped and it was just something I grew up with and enjoyed being with them [and' never saw anything but the possibilities, I think," she said.
"Her vision is to make every child the best that they can be and she does it each and every day with a smile and that is very refreshing," said Lynette Landers, a parent.
With almost four decades in the classroom, Hippen has touched the lives of more than 370 students. She even started a mentoring program.
"They are the ones who pretty much ran our Special Olympics day last year and then again this year," she said.
But she's the one who runs her classroom every day, and parents like Landers have noticed her hard work.
"Meagan's gotten a lot more verbal, a lot more sight words, a lot more interactive with adults and people she doesn't know, so it's really helped Meagan grow up," Landers said.
So this Golden Apple Award serves as a perfect symbol for a woman who has spent most of her life planting seeks of love in children who need a little more nurturing and attention to grow.