APACHE, Okla. - Students at Apache Middle School and High School gathered for an assembly, thrilled to surprise their pre-engineering and robotics teacher, Mr. Seth Grabeal.
News Four's Heather Holeman and Air Comfort Solutions, with a jumbo-sized $5,000 check in hand, were honored to present the award to Mr. Grabeal, to the cheers of his students.
"We have a program called Thankful 4 Teachers, and that's exactly why we're here," Holeman said.
Air Comfort Solutions' Jason White then shook Mr. Grabeal's hand, saying, "It's teachers like you that change kids' lives every day, and the hard work you put in besides at school, and your family, that's what this money goes toward, so thank you," White said.
"Thank you very much, I appreciate it," Mr. Grabeal said in shock.
Mr. Grabeal is one of only ten teachers statewide selected for the big prize.
His wife, Jana, says her husband is deserving because of how much time he devotes to his passion for teaching.
"He's a pre-engineering teacher, and he's a robotics coach, he drives a bus route, he services computers at the school, and then he has a custom hay bailing business," she said. "He was up last night until 2:30 in the morning bailing hay, then up at 6 o'clock to drive the bus route," Jana said.
Apache is a small town with a population of about 2,000 - but Mr. Grabeal's student robotics team has placed in multiple national competitions and then gone on to compete in the World Robotics Competition.
"I'm the only one in the school who gets to play with toys all day," Mr. Grabeal said.
He loves his job and his students, and it shows.
The humble father of four stays late every day for students to explore, create, and work on their robots, sometimes late into the night - even during summer break.
"All you've got to do is give them a chance. I'm not really that special, I just give them a place to work," Mr. Grabeal said.
Holeman replied with, "We think you're pretty special and so do all these kids. Kids, what do you think of him?"
A roar of cheers put a huge smile on his face.
Thankful 4 Teachers is sponsored by Air Comfort Solutions.