NICOMA PARK, Okla. - As a school teacher, Alicia Winters has shaped the minds of hundreds of impressionable children.
But, her classroom curriculum goes well beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.
"We are really here for life lessons, so we are building character, moving forward. That will make the difference in our country. They are our future," Winters said.
One of the most important lessons taught at Nicoma Park Middle school is the spirit of giving.
Winters started a program years ago called 'Winter Wishes.'
The kids anonymously grant wishes for their classmates.
"One of my favorites was an electric guitar for a kid who played outside every morning. His mom sent us an email the next day and said you have no idea. They weren't going to have Christmas at all at their house and Winter Wishes did that for him. It's fun to watch it unfold and see how kids really do care about each other."
Winters spends her off time collecting donations and buying surprises for Winter Wishes.
School Counselor Lindsey Sanders and 8th grader Kaylee Bjorkley nominated Winters for Pay it 4Ward.
"One time, a girl lost everything in a fire, so she got a pair of Miss Me jeans. Things like that. It's just a magical experience getting to see the pure happiness," Sanders told us.
We made a quick rendezvous with our friends at First Fidelity Bank.
"It's a pleasure to be here with you to celebrate Miss Winters and her contributions to our community with Winter Wishes. On behalf of First Fidelity, I'd like to give you $400 to Pay it 4Ward," said Kimberly Clift.
Winters was busy in a teacher's conference when we interrupted for the surprise.
"You make kids smile every day with your jokes, your kindness and generosity every day. All the wishes you give us, kids, the chance to give without getting anything back but a great feeling - it's amazing what you do for this school. So, I'd like to Pay it 4Ward to you," Bjorkley told her.
It's no surprise Winters said she'll use the money to grant even more Winter Wishes.
"This will be a great start."
Winters is teaching children some of life's greatest lessons are not always found in a text book.
Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.