At Welsh Elementary School in Rockford, Kassi Thew is listing off words that describe different emotions.
Some words are good and some are bad, but for Principal Matthew Lerner, there is only one way to describe her as a teacher, "Loving. She genuinely cares about each one of her students in the classroom."
The mother of two, Thew uses that love everyday in the classroom to the kids who need it most. "I have the privilege of teaching E.D. which is emotionally disturbed. It encompasses a lot of mental illness," says Thew.
It's a position that is not always the easiest, but something she takes head on. "I'm not scared of it at all," says Thew. "For me, those are the kids that need it the most. Those are the kids that need the most love and academic support. I want to be the one who can be there for them."
A kind of love and support not always shown to her while she was in school. "I had teachers tell me I probably wasn't gonna go far, says Thew. "That kind of pushed me to put it back in their face and say, 'Ya know what? I can go far. I can do what you do'. "
Now she is going far, in the classroom and in the lives of each of these students. "When I see them succeed, whether its a big success or maybe even something small, it may be big to them and its big to me. Because that means that I am doing something right for them."