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We surprised an Independence Middle School teacher for her exceptional work in the classroom: See her reaction

'She's a kid champion. She's willing to always put someone else's needs in front of her own.'

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Growing up, everyone has that special teacher who stands out. For 8th grader Sam Crooks, that teacher is Mrs. Josie Vecchio. 

"She's fun and creative," Sam said. "She makes everything tie together and it just makes a fun class." 

Mrs. Vecchio has been at Independence Middle School since 2007, and in that time has made a lasting impact on students and staff. Every year she plans the 8th grade class trip to Washington D.C., and this year she was instrumental in starting the cheer squad at the school. 

"Ultimately, she's a kid champion," says Principal Jamie Vanek. "She's willing to always put someone else's needs in front of her own."

Mrs. Vecchio strives to make meaningful connections with her students. 

"She loves to hear what kids have to say," Sam said.

This year has provided new challenges for Vecchio amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but she has taken them in stride -- even finding opportunity in the chaos. 

"The ability to be flexible and try out new things has been so important," Vecchio said. "It's taught me a lot. It's been difficult, but it's been rewarding." 

An age of difficulty due to online learning, but even through the screen, Vecchio strives to make a personal connection with each student. 

"I love to see the kids involved and happy and excited about these new things. I get so much joy from that and being a part of it. That's why I do it." 

Vecchio was gifted a $250 Amazon gift card presented by Barnett Management for her dedication to the classroom.

Thank you for all the hard work!

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