PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - Region 8 crews drove to St. Mary’s Catholic School in Paragould Monday to award Denise Stoddard with the Teacher of the Month.
Stoddard’s students couldn’t contain their excitement and jumped out of their seats when Region 8 crews walked through the door for the surprise. Stoddard said their reaction didn’t surprise her.
“We’re really a community. We’re a smaller school. So we’re kind of like a family. So my classroom is part of my family,” Stoddard said.
She said her family at school was there when she went through health challenges with family at home, including her husband’s cancer diagnosis. Stoddard said several factors prevented her from letting the challenges overwhelm her.
“Certainly my faith and my trust in God and knowing my mission, knowing what God has called me to do,” Stoddard said. “He called me to take care of my husband. He also called me to take care of these kids.”
It’s that mindset that prompted her nomination in the first place. Her nomination letter included a story where she gave her last cupcake to a child visiting the school with an interest in attending.
One parent recalled Stoddard telling the potential student ‘God must have known you were coming today’. The letter went on to state Stoddard’s amazing character is reflected through her interactions with her students every day.