Christy Cleckler was in first grade at Osceola Elementary when she decided to become a teacher.
It was career day, and students were supposed to dress up as what they wanted to be when they grew up. Little did she know that one day, not only would she be teaching, but she'd do it in the very school she attended as a child. In fact, Clecker said she's taught in two classrooms in which she was a former student.
"I have never had an interest in being something else," Clecker said.
Now, Clecker is nominated as Osceola Elementary's Teacher of the Year, a recognition she said is an honor.
"The day it was announced, I was very excited," Cleckler said. "My parents were able to be a part of the announcement as well which was very special to me."
Initially, Clecker wanted to be a high school English teacher. That all changed after she graduated from Seabreeze High School and volunteered in a voluntary pre-K class. She fell in love and said she knew from that point on that she had to teach elementary school.
Cleckler has ben in education for a total of eight years, and she currently teaches second grade, though she has also taught kindergarten and first grade in the past. Her favorite thing about her profession is the children.
"Every year I get an opportunity to help educate a new group of students and hopefully inspire them," Clecker said. "They sit out in front of me each and every day eager to learn and soak up information like sponges. I love getting to be a part of their learning process."
If she could pass on one piece of wisdom to her students, it would be that they can be the change in the world.
"You have the power to do anything that you want," Cleckler said. "You are smart, strong, and resilient. You should never doubt yourself. If you want something, go for it."