BOZEMAN, Mont. - Teachers have made a difference in every child's life, and Catherine Matthews was recognized with a prestigious award for her hard work and dedication to the students of Hyalite Elementary.

Matthews is a preschool teacher for special education, making her work crucially important to the development of her students young minds. Hyalite Principal Heather Chvojka said watching her teach is like watching a show, because she is all over the place helping out students with a fun and engaging atmosphere. 

"They respond to her, they love her, and you can feel the love when you walk in her classroom. Even when she's walking through the school her love and care for the families is contagious," said Chvojka.

State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen, Hyalite students, teachers, administrators and BSD representatives all came together to celebrate the award. The school planned a surprise "fake" assembly disguised as a safety assembly, to get everyone in the gym for the award presentation. The school executed it well because Matthews said she genuinely had no idea what was happening. Matthews did say she was wondering why some of the teachers were dressed up for a Tuesday. 

The students let out a thunderous roar of cheers, stomps and claps as you can tell they all love Matthews. She did say a few words, and even though she was put on the spot in front of the whole school wanted to thank all the teachers and let the kids know that she does it all for them. 

"It's incredibly rewarding and I am just so thankful. I think there is so many teachers that deserve that award. To receive it, I'm receiving it on behalf of many because this is a team effort," said Matthews. 

Matthews was chosen out of 57 teachers across the state nominated. Now she will connect with previous teachers of the year and current ones from different states. They will compete for America Teacher of the Year. More importantly, they will all work together to create an initiative of their choice to better schools across America. 

News For You