LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was difficult to stop the tears for Marlise McCarthy once a "set-up" assembly for students was actually a surprise for her.
"Today I thought I was coming to an assembly for 2nd-5th grade, because our principal returned yesterday and it was just to reiterate the things he expects from them for the remainder of the school year," said Instructional Coach, Marlise McCarthy.
The Louisiana Department of Education recently announced its semi-finalists for the Louisiana Teacher of the Year. And McCarthy was on that list.
"I had to read it twice," said McCarthy. "I read it and thought it was something just being forwarded and then it said Marlise McCarthy," said McCarthy.
McCarthy admits she was blown away by the surprise at Combre-Fondel.
Fifteen teachers were selected from hundreds of nominations. Teachers are nominated by their schools.
"She has been an inspiration for the school, inspiration for the staff, and most importantly an inspiration for education," said Combre-Fondel Elementary Principal, Harold Winey.
And while Winey said it's McCarthy's love for students that brought this recognition on, he also said his entire staff makes a difference.
"We have to work very very smart in order to get success from our kids and we're very proud of our little school because it's devoted teachers like McCarthy and other teachers that makes this school so special," said Winey.
And while McCarthy is in the spotlight, she also refuses to take full credit.
"Education is not an easy task, but at Combre-Fondel we're a team and that's why when he asked me to say some words, I couldn't do it without the support of everybody," said McCarthy.
And even with a successful surprise, this state-recognized teacher said it feels good to be rewarded for a job she truly loves.
McCarthy will be recognized on July 12th in Baton Rouge. The state teacher of the year will also be named that day.