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  • - There's a kindergarten teacher

  • from Albuquerque, New Mexico in our audience.

  • I want you to meet her. Sonya Romero, come on down!

  • You teach kindergarten, and what is the question--

  • the first question you ask every morning?

  • - So I ask my kids if they've eaten that morning,

  • if they need anything to wear or need to brush their teeth

  • or comb their hair.

  • We usually spend about the first hour of our morning

  • getting ready for our day to learn, and I--

  • I feel like, as educators, we're sort of first responders, so...

  • - And so--and you've taken in two foster kids.

  • You have two children of your own, right?

  • - I have one son. - One son.

  • He's in the audience, I think. - He is, he is.

  • - So, he was just watching--

  • [cheers and applause]

  • So you have one son, and-- aren't you proud of your mom?

  • Doesn't--isn't she cool?

  • - Yeah, I'm very proud. - Yeah, she's--

  • She's an amazing woman. So then you took in

  • two foster children-- tell everyone the story of that.

  • - So they were two of my former students.

  • They were in my class, and, um,

  • Child Protective Services had come that day

  • and I think any time Child Protective Services comes to,

  • you know, a school, you know it's never a good thing.

  • And they were there that day.

  • It was a Friday and I got a call,

  • because they had requested if I would have them for 48 hours,

  • and I said, "Of course." They're beautiful children,

  • and so I sent my family out to get--we had nothing,

  • so we got toothbrushes and jammies and underwear

  • and brushes and, uh, they've been with us ever since.

  • - For how long now? - Six months.

  • - Six months. - Six months.

  • - Good for you. You're amazing.

  • [cheers and applause] - Thank you.

  • - You're amazing. - Thank you.

  • [cheers and applause]

  • - We have a little surprise for you,

  • if you look at that monitor right there.

  • - Okay.

  • - Miss Sonya inspires me

  • because she's just fun.

  • - When we say we love her, she says she--she loves us back.

  • - I still visit her, just to say hi and give her a hug.

  • Makes me feel, like, comfort, kind of.

  • - And I want to be like her when I grow up.

  • I want to be able to make everyone feel like they're equal

  • and they all have some part in the world that they can improve,

  • they can make it a better place,

  • - Miss Sonya is the embodiment of all the best

  • that goes on here the school.

  • - The way she connects with students

  • is--is really authentic.

  • She decides what their strengths are,

  • and she really kind of pulls that out of them.

  • - Teachers are supposed to have these professional boundaries,

  • and whatnot, but she really-- her heart has no boundaries.

  • - She starts every morning making sure all of her students

  • have clean clothes and they've eaten breakfast.

  • - Sonya was here late one night,

  • and we had two children in crisis,

  • and the social worker could not find

  • an emergency placement for those children.

  • - Without a second thought, Sonya said, "I will take them."

  • - Well, a weekend became a week,

  • became "I'll just help them through the holidays,"

  • and now she is full-on their foster mom.

  • - Sonya says, over and over, "This is not about me.

  • This is about all of us."

  • [applause] - Thank you for all that you do.

  • to make the world a better place.

  • - Thank you for being awesome.

  • - Thank you for teaching me,

  • I'm really happy that you did.

  • (all) We love you, Miss Sonya!

  • [cheers and applause]

  • - Thank you so much.

  • [crying]

  • - Well, now I'm crying too, because--

  • [laughter] It's sweet as can be,

  • and your son's crying-- you're an amazing woman.

  • Now we're gonna--we want to talk about the school, and--

  • Tell everyone the name of it again,

  • because I want people to help it.

  • - Lew Wallace Elementary in downtown Albuquerque, NM.

  • - Go to our website if you-- 'cause when you hear

  • the budget that they have, and what comes out of her pocket--

  • we want to help this school, we want to help these kids.

  • And we're gonna help you when we come back.

  • So you're busy and you're spending a lot of money,

  • because you care about these kids--

  • - Absolutely. - And so Target wants to

  • help you, they want to help.

  • And I know that you've gotten a donation for $100,

  • from someone who was a good Samaritan.

  • You turned around and gave that $100

  • to a woman you saw crying on a bench.

  • So Target wants to give you $10,000.

  • - Oh, my God. [cheers and applause]

  • [cheers and applause]

  • - This is for you.

  • [cheers and applause]

  • And...

  • [cheers and applause]

  • And because I know what kind of person you are,

  • and you think you're going to use this $10,000

  • to help other people, they also want to give

  • $10,000 to Lew Wallace Elementary School,

  • so you're gonna get another--

  • - Oh, my gosh! [cheers and applause]

  • [cheers and applause]

  • - Oh, my-- - So one's for you,

  • one's for the school.

- There's a kindergarten teacher

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Hero Teacher Sonya Romero

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    Chamber posted on 2015/03/26
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