DEL CITY, Okla. - We are excited to roll out a brand new program at News 4. It's a partnership between the station and Air Comfort Solutions.
All summer, we asked you to nominate Oklahoma teachers worthy of a $5,000 cash prize. For months, nominations poured in from around the state.
News 4's Ali Meyer kicks off our coverage in Del City with our inaugural winner.
Mrs. Kristy Cooper is a math teacher; she also runs the leadership program. She's spent 14 years in the classroom at Del City High.
Monday, as the school bell rang to start the day, she had no idea administrators were plotting with News 4 behind her back. The sophomore class waited in the auditorium about 9 a.m., clueless about what was about to unfold.
Air Comfort Solutions brought a $5,000 check, which was still in hiding. OU legend Jason White with Air Comfort Solutions brought a reminder to the students that everyone has been touched by a teacher.
"I have been affected by a teacher that's changed my life," White said. "Everyone in this room will have that same opportunity. We want to give back to those teachers."
Meyer announced the winner, and the crowd went wild.
Cooper is a life-changer who has dedicated her career to investing into high schoolers so they know they are worthy. She pours out her time, chips in her own money and opens her heart every day for her kids.
"I'm not going to talk much because I think I'm about to cry," Cooper told the crowd of students. "But, thank you to whoever (nominated me). Thank you so much."
The students honor her because of that commitment, even while privately fighting a life or death battle of her own - stage 4 cancer.
"Even during homecoming, she missed the homecoming assembly to go to chemo," said Del City High School Senior Breland Steward. "She came back to see our seniors then went to the homecoming game that night even though she was tired. She always goes above and beyond for us."
Congratulations, Mrs. Cooper. We are proud to present you with this award because your strength is a beacon of hope for your students.
When asked what she might do with her $5000, Mrs. Cooper said "I have no clue. None." She is a leader of leaders.
We are thankful 4 you.
News 4 is teaming up with Air Comfort Solutions to give away $50,000 over the next two weeks. Stay tuned to KFOR because the next two weeks are going to be lots of fun.