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Pay it Forward surprises Sherrard Middle School teacher

SHERRARD, Illinois — For Michelle Rolsch, running an interactive, caring classroom at Sherrard Middle School is second nature. Michelle invests in her students - spending her own money to make sure they have everything they need from clothing, to school supplies and even holiday gifts.

It's why her friend and colleague, Tammy Crippen, a teacher at the adjacent Sherrard High School, nominated her for the Pay it Forward contest sponsored by Ascentra Credit Union.

"Tammy, thank you for nominating Michelle for the Pay it Forward," said Megan Guldenpfennig, Public Relations Specialist for Ascentra Credit Union. "Not only is Michelle a role model to all of her students, but she is someone who goes above and beyond and treats them as her own. She is what it means to be listening caring and doing what's right, which are our core values at Ascentra Credit Union. On behalf of Ascentra, I would love to present you with $300 so that you may pay it forward. Congratulations!"

Right after Tammy Crippen received the $300 to give to Michelle, she took off, down the halls of the school to find Michelle with her students.

Michelle was surprised to see her friend Tammy walk through the door with three $100 dollar bills in hand.

"You guys are for real?" questioned Michelle, "You're not students in the high school!"

She says this sort of thing happens to other people, not her.

"I am going to need a few minutes to cry kind of digest all of this," said Michelle.

Tammy nominated Michelle because she says the school and community are better off with her.

"She thinks with her heart and a lot of times we have students who really need that more than thinking with their head. She will go above and beyond to make sure she remembers something very specific and very caring about each one of the kids she has in their classrooms," said Tammy.

Michelle said her students will get the money. She said she has been thinking about writing grants to be able to get her students classroom items.

"Comes from my heart, I have some great kids," said Michelle.

If you want to recognize someone who goes above and beyond for his or her community, nominate them for the Pay it Forward contest: click here.

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