Jenny Amenda spends the morning reading to her 4th graders. As they sit in a circle in her classroom at Saint James School in Rockford, they are hooked on her every word. With the turn of every page, you can see their eyes light up and their imaginations churning.
"I use that energy and that excitement and that happiness and that joy that they bring everyday to get them interested in things. We just click", said 4th grade teacher, Jenny Amenda on Wednesday.
They 'click' because it's not the first time the students and their teacher have been together.
Amenda said, "This is a very special group. I was able to teach these children when they were in 2nd grade when their teacher was gone on maternity leave. So I got to know them as 2nd graders."
Two years later, that bond has been carried over. It's a bond that has made school a comfortable place for students like Addy Hampl who was having a hard time with school, until she met Mrs. Amenda.
4th grader Addy Hampl said, "She always makes me feel better. It's like the most awesome thing on Earth."
Making school a safe place for students is something Amenda strives for. "To make these kids feel loved. I know they are loved at home but I want them to feel loved when they are here too," Amenda said.
It's that love which has made such an impact at Saint James.
Principal Julie Olson said, "She brings 110% of her energy and positivity every single day."
Making school for students like Addy a place she wants to be.
I love everything about school", Addy smiled. "Especially Mrs. Amenda."