"My first thought is it's very overwhelming. I was not expecting this at all," said Michelle Helt, 3rd-grade teacher.
In a surprise ceremony, Michelle Helt was named the Nebraska Teacher of the Year on Monday.
The South Sioux City 3rd grade teacher was among three finalists interviewed by the Nebraska Department of Education.
"I think when I left the interview I thought, 'Oh, that went really well.' And then the next day I thought, 'Ooh, that did not go very well.'" said Helt.
She was presented the award in front of her students.
Both they and her colleagues are proud and say she is deserving of the honor.
"I really wanted her last year and I finally got her." said Katelyn Nuno, student.
"Why did you want her?" said reporter Jaret Lansford.
"Because she seemed really nice when we had a day when got to do a little math thing with her. She was just really cheerful and happy," said Nuno.
"Teaching is a lifestyle and a very demanding profession and it's great to be able to share in a rewarding day such as this for Mrs. Helt. She's one of those teachers that is the epitome of the profession. She comes early, stays late and puts forth 110 percent while she's here." said Todd Strom, South Sioux City Schools Superintendent.
For Helt, the process of applying and winning the award has been about a lot more than what she's accomplished.
"It was a chance for me to really think about all that I've learned from my district, from my colleagues, from my principal. It was just a great chance to focus on the wonderful things that are going on here and just how much I've learned from them," said Helt.