Sunday, August 24 2014 12:56 AM EDT2014-08-24 04:56:42 GMT
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FARRAGUT (WATE) - The school year came to a close Wednesday with a sweet surprise for one Knox County Schools teacher.
Fifth grade teacher Niki Adams thought the students and staff at Farragut Intermediate School were just gathered for the typical last day of school assembly at Farragut Intermediate School.
Her surprise came when one of her students, fifth grader Reva Bagi, was being recognized by the Tennessee Department of Education for winning this year's statewide essay contest.
Bagi’s essay was chosen out of more than 3,000 entries. As she stood and recited it before the entire school, Ms. Adams was floored.
The essay was entitled “Why I’m Thankful for My Teacher.” Ms. Adams had no idea Bagi had even submitted an entry.
"I just started crying. I was completely shocked,” said Niki Adams.
Bagi spoke of how much of a difference her teacher has made in her life this year, both in and out of the classroom.
"She wants people to not feel bad about themselves. She wants them to know their personality is one of a kind,” said Bagi.
Bagi was a new student this year and says Ms. Adams made her feel at east right from the start.
That impact helped her excel all year long.
“If I wouldn't have had her for a teacher this year, then I wouldn't have been able to make it through,” said Bagi.
For Adams, a first year teacher, ending the school year has been emotional.
"On the way to school this morning, I got a little teary eyed in the car because this is bittersweet, because this was my first class,” said Adams.
She says hearing the heartfelt words from one of her most beloved students brought this year to a close in the best way possible.
"You sometimes, you go home and you go, 'Did I do a good enough job today? Did they learn the things they needed to know?'” said Adams. "You want to make that impact and you want them to learn and grow and be successful and go on with their lives. It was just so comforting to hear that from her."
Bagi was awarded a $500 scholarship from the Tennessee Department of Education for being one of the three students across the state chosen as winners of the essay contest.