Pay It 4Ward - Kindergarten teacher making a difference

Mona Salazar recieves the Pay it 4Ward prize

Inside Travis Elementary School in Edinburg, there TMs a kindergarten teacher who's making a difference in the lives of young minds.

Over the last eight years, Mona Salazar has proven that teaching is a work of heart and lessons can be taught both in and out of the classroom.

She creates memory books for every student that TMs chock-full of fun.

It includes everything from their handprints to handwriting even snipped string tucked into an envelope to showcase one's height.

Michelle Torres, who had two daughters in her class, said Miss Salazar uses her own resources to create educational magic. ."When a child steps foot in that door of the classroom, she TMs snapping pictures of them until the end of the year, said Michelle.

But Miss Salazar's impact reaches well beyond the confines of the classroom.

We're on the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) together, and when I'm real nervous she TMs there, said Michelle. She'll be on the sideline, like a football player|Looking at me and encouraging me."

Mona even babysits for Michelle TMs kids if she needs to be at the doctors.

"I want to Pay it 4Ward because she's a person that gives to the community, said Michelle. She gives to these children... And it doesn't hurt for her to give from her pocket."

Pronto insurance wants to help refill Mona's pockets with the Pay it 4Ward prize.

"How cool is it to recognize a teacher that goes above and beyond," said Alexis Reyes with Pronto Insurance. On behalf of Pronto Insurance and Action 4 News, it gives us great pleasure to give you $400 to Pay it 4Ward."

With the school TMs principal and Mona's sister in tow, the group made its way to her classroom.

A nervous Michelle got some last minute support before the big surprise.

Action 4 TMs Ryan Wolf was first in the classroom door.

Ryan: Are you Mona? It TMs Ryan Wolf with Action 4 News|Do you know why I TMm here?

Mona: No.

Ryan: I have great news!

Mona: What TMs the great news?

Ryan: Michelle, come on in!

Michelle: Hi Mona!

Mona: Oh my, what did you do?

Michelle: You over the years have done so much for the kids and my kids. You've taken me places... And done so much for us... And I want to pay it back to you Pay it 4Ward so here's put your hand out|.$100, $200, $300, $400!

Mona: Thank you! I TMm emotional... I don't want to cry... Especially not on camera|But I TMm very appreciative, and it makes it worthwhile... I work with a great staff!

Edna Olivarez, principal atTravis Elementary School, said it was incredible to see Mona TMs work recognized by someone from outside the school. Here at Travis we want to make a difference for every child, and so it's wonderful that one parent stepped up and said I want to recognize what she did, she said.

Mona's sister, Jessica Salazar, can't think of anyone more deserving of the Pay it 4Ward prize.

Ryan: You TMre emotional now, how come?

Jessica: Because without her, I probably wouldn't have finished college|.And she's raised me... And helped me through everything.

I TMm very grateful and appreciative that I have parents who appreciate what I do, Mona said. I enjoy teaching, and it just makes it worthwhile.

Mona is preparing to embark on a new chapter in her life as a 4th grade teacher.

She said the Pay it 4Ward prize will be put to great use for her students.

Click here to nominate someone for Pay it 4Ward

Click here to join Ryan Wolf TMs Facebook page