North Caddo special needs teacher, Mary Irvin, changes the lives - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

North Caddo special needs teacher, Mary Irvin, changes the lives of her students

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What a difference a year makes. North Caddo Special Needs teacher Mary Irvin won $1,000 in our One Class At A Time check giveaway a year ago and from what we can see, it's truly helped her shape students' lives both inside and outside of the classroom.

From chopping up onions to cutting up pepperoni, just some of the simple tasks many take for granted but daily duties made simpler for these special needs kids because of funds from One Class At A Time.

"We purchased anything, things that we would use at home, we use here in our classroom" says Mary Irvin.

Irvin took her $1,000 check and bough her students daily tools to help them in the real world. Appliances, food, utensils, even toothpaste and other hygiene products to help teach them the basics of life skills.

There's even a greenhouse where students can develop a green thumb and learn to nurture plants. Irvin says that without the additional money, she would not have been able to give them better tools to help give them a better life.

"When a teacher has funds to, I'm sorry, I cry easy. It's a good cry."

"Are you alright?"

"I'm fine. I was not gonna do that."

Hugs from her students when she's crying shows you just how much this teacher means to her small class of six. A tight knit class that has become her extended family. North Caddo Principal Mabry Barker used to be a special needs teacher herself and says the One Class At A Time funds helped give this class simple opportunities for a more successful life.

"In a special needs class, the numbers are smaller and so you get to know them more intimately and you feel that sense of urgency because you know they only have a few years past high school that they'll have a public education option so when you have the extra funding and provide them additional experiences that impacts their lives and your opportunity as a teacher."

The One Class At A Time money also helped the kids attend the state Special Olympics in Baton Rouge for the first time. Money, that Irvin says not only teaches valuable lessons but has also given her kids more confidence.

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