ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - It was a night filled with shock, tears and bright smiles as the Rapides Parish School District recognized the teachers and principals that go above and beyond at all 48 of their schools.
"Once again this is our time to honor you and the hard work that you do," said Executive Assistant Superintendent Kim Bennett.
Ball teacher Vanessa Ellington started off the night and snagged the Elementary Teacher of the Year title.
"It is the most overwhelming feeling because you see that what you are doing is OK," Ellington said.
Teachers were nominated by their peers and district administration picked the winners.
Brame Middle School Teacher of the Year Amanda King said that was a true honor.
"I can't wait for my kids to see that I won, that we won," King said. "They are going to be so excited!"
Many, like Tioga High School Teacher of the Year Jessica Butler, credited their peers.
"I just never expected it in a million years," Butler said. "When I look at all the wonderful teachers here I feel very undeserving because I know they work as hard if not harder than me."
School leaders also had trouble taking the credit, like High School Principal of the Year Jonathan Garrett.
"It's a great day to be a Trojan, every single day," Garrett said. "We hang our hat on work ethic, hard work and doing what is right everyday."
Tioga Junior High Principal of the Year Becky Pippen said it's the best job in the world.
"I am doing what I love, in school leadership everyday," Pippen said. "Surrounded by awesome people, most importantly the students."
And Elementary Principal of the Year Bonnie Lord said the students make it all worth it.
"I love what I do," Lord said. "I always wanted to be a teacher, I love education. The kids make me smile everyday."