OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma City teacher received the surprise of a lifetime Tuesday morning.
Amanda Raupe, a first grade teacher at Hilldale Elementary School, was surprised with the Milken Educator Award and $25,000 during an all-school assembly.
Raupe is the only Milken Educator Award recipient for Oklahoma this year and among up to 35 honorees who will receive the prestigious honor nationwide for 2016-17.
This season marks the 30th year of the Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the "Oscars of Teaching."
"I think she stands as a model of a teacher who's only been teaching for six years but has been recognized for making such a difference," said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
Raupe said she was shocked when she was surprised with the award during school Tuesday.
"My mouth dropped open, and I had nothing to say. It was like I couldn't believe it. I thought 'I think I'm dreaming. I really think I'm dreaming,'” Raupe said.
Raupe is an Oklahoma State University graduate.
She started in engineering but realized education is her true calling.
Her passion is to give her students the gift of reading and writing.
To her, that is the real honor.
"I also just get to love on them, and that's really fun. They mean a lot to me," she said.
The first grade teacher said she is also grateful for her fellow teachers.
"I feel like this award could go to half of the teachers here, if not more," she said. "I really don't feel like it's for me. I feel like it's for everybody here, so it's really humbling."
Raupe said she hasn't even thought about what to do with the money.