RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — For 10 years Sarah Remery has been in the classroom teaching math, but before she even earned a degree, she was gathering cousins and friends to play school.
"Very early on I knew I wanted to be a teacher. My grandmother was a teacher and I had a lot of teachers that I feel were very influential to me," Remery said.
The 4th grade teacher at Trindale Elementary School credits her past for her passion. She said it's the students that bring her back every year.
"When they finally get something, the light, that lightbulb moment when it goes off and its like oh, that's what it is. Or when they discover a strategy on their own or how something works on their own. Getting to see those little moments is just awesome," Remery said.
It was moments like those that were often missed during the pandemic, but in the midst of masks and math problems, Remery was nominated for a prestigious award.
It's called the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science. She was picked as a state finalist in December 2020 and earlier this month she learned she's a national winner.
"Its such an honor to win the award and I think in some ways it just doesn't even feel real after waiting so long to find out," Remery said.
Remery said she will get a signed letter from the president, a trip to Washington D.C. at some point and $10,000 to spend.
"Yes, I teach about that number in class and we talk about that number in class and I can put it in three different forms, but thinking about it in dollars as a teacher is just wild," Remery said.
The money is a blessing, but Remery said that's not why she chose this path. It's been the people before her, the people in her life and the students in her class that have always pushed her to perform and be the best teacher she can be.
"That's why I can be here, that's why I can accept this award because I've worked with a lot of really good people who have pushed me and I have learned so much from in my 10 years of teaching," Remery said.