Patricia Altman has been intriguing young minds at Montana Magnet for the past 11 years.
Each day is a new chance for her to make a difference.
Thursday a decade of dedication was recognized.
“It makes my job feel like it's worth it, everything I do, sometimes it seems as though we are working so hard and we're not getting anywhere and this does validate that our work is doing what it should be doing," said Altman.
Cheers rang throughout the lunchroom as the school's principal, Sue Clark, announced Montana Magnet as one of only 4 schools in Alabama chosen as a Blue Ribbon school.
Winners are chosen by the U.S. Department of Education.
High test scores qualified the school back in December.
But the news about the prestigious award was almost overlooked.
“I was so nervous that I misread the email and I thought that we had not won," said Principal Sue Clark.
Clark says it takes more than one individual’s commitment to earn the award.
“It goes back to dedicated teachers, main thing, dedicated parents and then getting the children to buy in, it takes all of us working together," said Clark.
For Altman, this news is more than recognition for her students.
It's a stepping stone for their future.
“5th grade is the most critical grade I believe and I have done some research that shows that it is extremely critical and I think that if we build the confidence in our students there won't be as high a drop out rate as we have right now," said Altman.
Clark and a teacher will make their way to Washington D.C. November 15th.
The school will be given a plaque and blue ribbon to be flown on school grounds.