"I love my subject. I get excited about my subject," said Assumption High School Science Teacher, Wendy Martin.
In a letter written on a whim, Abby Greufe, a former student of Martin's noted the dozens of reasons that make Martin an excellent teacher.
"A modern day Bill Nye the Science Girl, Wendy Martin personifies all that is teacher, woman, mother, and science," wrote Greufe.
"As a teacher you always wonder, is the way that I'm teaching. Do the kids like it? Does it help them grasp the concept?" remarks Martin.
Her answer came in a way even bigger than the explosion experiments set off in her classes. After Greufe wrote that letter, she sent it off to the "Live with Kelly" show in hopes it would land her favorite teacher in the "Top Teacher" contest.
"Truly giving meaning to Nye's catch phrase, Science Rules, Mrs. Martin not only drives students to excel academically but instills in them a passion for the often detested subject," Greufe wrote in the letter.
" I found out the day the top 12 were on T.V." recalls Martin.
"The producers called and they said there were thousands of applicants, so, to me that was good things happen to good people. It was just a chance of fate," said Greufe
Greufe's letter had caught the eye of the show's producer and landed Martin in the contest's top 12.
"I mean come on, if she can get this excited about spores and cytoplasm, there's got to be a method for her madness! Seriously, madness!
Madness that turned into disbelief when Martin learned she had gone from the top 12 to the top 5 and was going to New York to appear on the show.
"It's such an honor to have a student write something like that about you. It's incredible," said Martin.
Martin's success as a teacher extends beyond the textbook and she is not afraid to apply it to even the most tragic moment of her life.
"Nate will be five at the end of the month," Martin smiles as she thinks of the upcoming birthday. It is a birthday Martin did not know if her son would ever see. A huge supporter of the school's blood drive, one tragic day, it was Martin's son on the receiving end of her efforts.
"A couple of years ago he ran in front of a riding lawn mower and the mower couldn't stop. It went over him and severed his right arm," said Martin.
"Fighting for survival without the gift of life, which his mother works so diligently for, he could not have pulled through," read Greufe's letter.
Little "Nater" as he is lovingly called. did pull through and Martin did not shy away from a learning opportunity.
"Exploring the work of balance and a prosthetic arm she personally explained his condition in a scientific manner," Greufe wrote.
"I want them to leave my classroom and appreciate science as a whole. I want them to leave my classroom and think science is fun. My hope would be that some of them will pursue something science related in the future," said Martin.
"If anyone is to deserve this award, it is Wendy Martin. She has taken her toll as an educator to a new level by becoming an inspiration and community and professional hero," wrote Greufe.
Martin took Greufe with her to New York. She appeared on "Live with Kelly" on Tuesday. Voting for the show's "Top Teacher" begins Friday and ends Monday. You can vote by clicking on this link: http://dadt.com/live/contest/topteachersearch/12/vote/ .