Never underestimate the influence of your third-grade teacher.
For Charlenette Jones, her third-grade teacher may just be responsible for the $10,000 worth of new furniture she’s about to receive.
Jones, a third-grade teacher herself at Lockhart Elementary School, was named Tuesday as the Ashley Home Store Red Apple Teacher of the Year. She was surprised on Tuesday morning on KHOU’s Great Day Houston. Along with the recognition, she will receive $10,000 to spend at Ashley Home Store.
And it was a teacher back in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas who started it all for her.
“I was born with the odds stacked against me. And I decided to beat the odds,” Jones said. “It was my third-grade teacher—Evelyn Foreman—who told me to soar high. And I’ve just continued to try and do that. For her.”
Jones has been a teacher for fourteen years, many of those at Lockhart Elementary in the Third Ward. That school’s principal, Cameshia Emerson, said that the passion and dedication that Jones shows her students is evident from the second you meet her.
“She pours into her students each and every day,” Emerson said. “She comes in every day in great spirits, just happy. She loves her children and it’s obvious that they love her as well.”
Her students were on camera with Jones as she was surprised on live television, holding signs in support of their teacher. After she received the news about her win, Jones took a moment to take a photo with each of her students.
She said that the advice she got from her own third-grade teacher—to soar high—changed her life, and she hopes to do the same for her students at Lockhart Elementary.
“I know what it’s like to come to school and wonder why—why nobody wants to love you or why nobody wants to be there for you,” Jones said. “Reach for the moon and if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s so true. Gas up that rocket and just shoot. And if you miss, you’ll still be amongst great things.”