GRAY, Georgia — As we enter the final stretch of the school year, one Jones County teacher was chosen out of 850 teachers across the country for her ability to make a difference in the lives of students.
Amy London started teaching about 27 years ago, but she didn't always know she wanted to do it.
"That first year, I think it was a rough year. I had 29 students. I had from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high," said London.
After one year under her belt, she knew teaching was her calling in life.
"I fell in love with the job and the students. I think it just hit me sometime in that second year, like this is really it... this is what I really want to do," said London.
After working in five different counties, she landed in Jones County after her husband returned from his deployment in Iraq. She was hesitant to teach 2nd graders because she hadn't taught a kid younger than 5th grade, but she took the leap and loved it.
"That's one thing I have noticed in my career. I have been given opportunities to teach other grade levels that I would have never chosen on my own, and I have fallen in love with it every time," said London.
Now she's one of five educators being awarded with the Life Changer of the Year Award from the National Life Group Foundation. The foundation honors educators making an impact on their students' lives, and she's also getting $5,000 to split with her school.
"My mind just keep reeling with what can we do. What kind of training do we need? What is something teachers want that we really need and there's never any money for," said London.
Overall her main goal is to leave a lasting positive effect on her students.
"You don't become a teacher because people are going to watch you on TV, you become a teacher to impact the lives of children," said London.
She also tearfully spoke about the time she personally raised $1,000 for a student whose parents were both battling cancer and were moving to Central Georgia. She made it her mission for them to settle into their new home comfortably, especially with everything her student was going through. That is just one of many reasons she was chosen for the award.
There is still another round where the five finalists can win more money for themselves and their schools.