A Northeast Missouri high school teacher is a 2013 WGEM Golden Apple award winner. Her passion for teaching and dedication is evident when you walk into her classroom. And she's doing it all while fighting her own battle.
Monroe City High School teacher Jill Fortner was holding back tears as we surprised her in her classroom with a golden apple award.
"This is such an honor. I really am just so surprised and I greatly appreciate all of the wonderful things that have been said about me."
The language arts teacher is in her fourth year at Monroe City High School. But she's made a huge impact on her students. Not only in the classroom but in the countless clubs and organizations she's involved with. From drama and yearbook, to student council and quiz bowl.
And she's done it all while battling thyroid cancer. Which took her out of the classroom for seven weeks earlier this year.
"I have a wonderful staff and people here that took great care of me kept things running here for me while I was gone."
Her students simply call her an inspiration.
Tyler Betancourt is a senior at MCHS. He says, "It's really great because I don't just look up to her as a teacher, she's like a relative to me. I'm so close to her and she's always been there. I'm going to be sad when I have to leave this year and I'm not going to see her."
Libby Murphy is also a senior this year. She adds, "She really has inspired me that if you keep pushing forward you can really become somebody. She's just like, one of the ultimate heroes at this school."
Now nearing the end of her treatment, Mrs. Fortner is hoping things get back to normal and she can continue doing what she loves.
"I enjoy every day that I come to work, even days that are hard are fun days for me because I get to work with you."
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