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NORTH BEND — A new teacher at North Bend Middle School got a surprise on Friday.

Jackie Corriea received the Hero of the Month award from Farmers Insurance, along with a check for $100.

The award acknowledges teachers and community members who are making a difference in people’s lives. For Corriea, she was nominated by one of her students.

“I didn’t realize how much of an impact I was making in his life,” Corriea said. “I know how hard it is to be a student because I was the kid in the principal’s office, I could never sit still, so I have an understanding with these kids. I think this student nominated me because I understand his hardship.”

This is Corriea’s first year as a teacher. She moved to the Bay Area from California five years ago. Though she is new to teaching, having just earned her masters and received her license, she has still worked with kids for 14 years. Corriea has been a preschool teacher and a classroom assistant for special needs children.

“The longer I worked in this area, the more I realized that I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “I got my masters while working full time and with three boys under the age of 11, so it can be done. It’s all about determination.”

She tries to bring that mindset with her into the classroom, to teach her kids that though life is hard you still need to keep trying, keep pushing, because you will eventually succeed.

“A day like today, getting that award, was awesome,” she said. “I’m very humbled and honored, which is great motivation for me to become a better teacher and that all the sleepless nights and 386 assignments was worth it.”

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.