TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - KOLD News 13 is giving teachers some of the recognition they deserve.
We're teaming up with the University of Arizona Athletics department and Circle K to honor nine exceptional high school teachers.
Today we start with a teacher playing a crucial role in the lives of students.
Mae Casey is doing what it takes to help every teen graduate from Santa Rita High School with the Eagle Academy Credit Recovery Program.
From geometry to history class, Casey helps each student make up classes to get them one step closer to graduation.
"It's complicated and definitely during class I'm busy. I'm running over to do financial math and then I'm trying to help with Algebra 1," Casey said.
Many students have a few classes to work on. It can be overwhelming and easy to want to give up.
Casey understands that.
Senior Armando Benton said, "I missed a whole year, so I was a whole year behind and now I'm catching up."
Junior Marley Lopez said, "She helps us, she motivates us, she makes sure we are doing what we need to do and when we need to do it."
Casey said her role is to help students meet small goals.
"There's a lot about motivation there's a lot of strategy and positivity and meeting those small goals, " Casey said.
If they meet those goals they get to pick out some snacks.
"She makes sure we are well taken care of. If we're hungry she'll give us food. She's that kind of teacher. She's just amazing," Lopez said.
Casey stays on top of them, pushes them to make it to the finish line.
"She believes in us. She thinks that we can all graduate on time," Benton said.
Casey said, "I'm proud of them. They've worked really hard for themselves."
That hard work is paying off. Casey says 12 students will be graduating in May.