One Class at a Time presented by Chick-fil-A of Birmingham.

For 21 years, CBS 42 has been proud to present local teachers with $1,000 grants through its One Class at a Time program, honoring the educators who work tirelessly to make a positive impact on the children of Central Alabama.

This week, CBS 42 is honoring one such teacher from Thompson Middle School in Alabaster.

What started as a regular Tuesday for 6th grade beginner band teacher Cheryl O’Brien, was made extraordinary when she opened her classroom door to find it temporarily transformed into a TV set– complete with lights, cameras and CBS 42’s newest Chief Meteorologist, Dave Nussbaum, ready to present her with $1,000.

A Birmingham area native, O’Brien has spent the past 20 years serving as a private instructor and clarinet clinician in numerous schools, now working to shape the young musicians of Thompson Middle School.

An accomplished musician herself, performing in various ensembles like the Alabama Winds and the Alabama Winds Clarinet Quartet, O’Brien understands the value of having the proper equipment when it comes to practicing and performing.

“Our school band program is lucky enough to be able to divide some classes up so that the children can work in smaller groups,” said O’Brien, “but with that, we often have to move stands and chairs from room to room between classes, cutting into instructional time.”

With the One Class at a Time grant money now burning a hole in her pocket, O’Brien will be able to purchase stand carts that will allow for efficient equipment transfer for class small groups, as well as for school programs and concerts that take place in the school’s gym and auditorium.

To nominate a local teacher for CBS 42’s One Class at a Time grant, apply here.