One Class at a Time & content sponsored by Chick-Fil-A of Birmingham.

When computer science teacher, Kymberly Edwards, walked into the gymnasium at Bush Hills STEAM Academy on a random Tuesday morning in September, the last thing she expected to see were bleachers packed with cheering students, a CBS 42 camera crew and the Chick-Fil-A cow mascot.

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.

After the check was presented, the cameras were gone and the kids were corralled back to their desks, Edwards took a quiet moment in her classroom to reflect on receiving the $1,000 grant, which will be used to pay for the school’s cheerleading team’s uniforms.

“This [cheerleading] is everything to these girls and boys…they get to be leaders in the school and community, they build camaraderie with each other– it’s a big confidence booster,” said Edwards of receiving the grant and what it means to the cheerleading team, which she has been head coach of for the past four years.

As Edwards sits in her classroom gushing over her cheerleaders and students, there is a soft knock at the door– a student who left her books in Edwards’ classroom while she went to lunch.

This happens twice more, our conversation interrupted by a soft knock at the door, a student in need of a safe place to keep their things, and Edwards– always patient, always accommodating, always ready to provide that safe place. Each little knock, a testament to the impact Edwards has on her students.

“I do everything I can to make sure they feel special just as they are, and that they can do anything anyone else can do,” said Edwards of her students and cheerleaders.

Edwards, who has been a teacher for 26 years, the past 11 spent at Bush Hills STEAM Academy, is not only a computer science teacher and cheer coach, but she also serves as the school’s athletic director, an EdFarm Teaching Fellow and is the director of the school’s coding club, as well as an afterschool girls’ mentoring group, The LOVE Girls, which stands for The Ladies of Value and Excellence.

“It means everything to work with these kids,” said Edwards, “I love what I do, all the days staying late after school… it’s just worth it.”

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