Teachers surprise students with end-of-year home visits

Teachers hand out awards, show students love, despite pandemic separation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two local teachers just couldn't end the school year without seeing their students in person -- leading to a Positively Jax surprise.

Loren Griffith and Anna Salas teach at Duval Charter School at Coastal near the Southside of Jacksonville.

Griffith, who teaches third grade math and science, and Salas, who teaches reading and social studies, visited 40 students in two days at the end of last week because neither could bear the thought of not seeing their students at the end of the school year.

“It breaks my heart that we can't be in class and physically be with them,” Griffith said. “They just mean so much to us.”

When they knocked on third-grader Ava Hernandez's door, she couldn't help herself and gave them a big hug. Ava was named “most persuasive” for her class and got a certificate to prove it.

“It's important to recognize all their hard work, not just through the school year but also through virtual learning,” Salas said.

Emma Miliner was anxious to show off the sign she made for her teachers.

“It is so awesome. We have the best teachers. I can’t even,” Anna Miliner said. “They’ve put so much hard work in. I know distance learning is a thousand times harder for everyone. They’ve done such a great thing and I appreciate them coming out.”

Emma said she missed science class the most during virtual learning. For Ava, it was math.

The gesture went a long way toward showing the students' parents just how much their teachers love them.

“They go so hard all year long for these kids and after everything they’ve had to do to now show up and surprise them, is so sweet,” mom Annalissia Kitchens said.

For these two teachers it was just another day of teaching and nurturing -- one child at a time.

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