It's not every day that an NFL superstar walks into your classroom as you are writing an essay.
That's exactly what happened when Texans linebacker Brian Cushing visited Glenda Dawson High School on Tuesday morning to surprise two teachers with game tickets, sideline passes and Texans memorabilia as part of the First Community Credit Union "Stars of the Classroom" program. Twelfth grade speech and debate teacher George McKendree and football coach and ninth grade algebra teacher Coach Myers were recognized by the Texans and FCCU after a nomination was submitted by their students.
"It was an amazing surprise," McKendree said. "Sitting there watching the kids write an essay, reading a couple essays and you see Brian Cushing walk into my room it's like, OK, this is not a normal day. It was an amazing day, and I'm overwhelmed."
"Every once in a while, it's nice just to know you're appreciated," Myers echoed. "It's nice whenever things like his happen and you understand why you do what you do. The impact I can have on these kids is so much better than anything I could have done anywhere else. I love my job, and I love these kids. Every single one of them."
Reuben Thomas and Tyler Starr were the two students who nominated McKendree and Myers, respectively. Each wrote a short essay about what makes his teacher a star in the classroom and explained how they have been impacted by their teacher.
"I've known Mr. McKendree for three years now," Thomas said. "The fact that he's always dedicated so much to learning, and he spends so much time after school without anyone asking is great. He expects so much but that's because he spends so much time with us, and that's what you ask for in a teacher."
Thomas, who received a football signed by Cushing for his nomination, was a bit star struck as he watched the pro linebacker mingle with his classmates.
"I don't know what to say," he said. "Brian Cushing is one of my favorite players. This is one of my favorite days ever right now."
Sporting some post-knee surgery crutches, Cushing took time to speak with Dawson students and faculty members, thanking the winners for their positive impact in the classroom.
"It's fun any chance you get to give back to the community and be in the classroom with kids," Cushing said. "Obviously, I have a little more free time now. To come out on a Tuesday and spend time at a high school like this is a cool opportunity."
*First Community Credit Union in partnership with the Houston Texans recognizes 10 deserving Houston area teachers each year through "Stars in the Classroom". Students nominate their favorite teacher through an essay contest run by First Community Credit Union. The winning teachers are recognized with a surprise visit from a Houston Texans player to their classroom, an autographed Texans jersey, and two tickets and sideline passes to a Houston Texans home game. The student who submitted the nomination receives an autographed Texans football. The school district also receives a $500 donation in honor of the outstanding teacher. All 10 teachers will once again be recognized in February at a banquet hosted in Reliant Stadium. *