Orange County teachers surprised with thank-you letters from former students

10,000 letters delivered during Teacher Appreciation Week

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Teachers across Orange County are receiving a surprise from students as nearly 10,000 heartfelt letters are being delivered during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Superintendent Barbara Jenkins visited several classrooms on Tuesday during the annual "Project Impact: Teachers Change Lives."

"It's tearful, but it's such a happy and joyous time for our teachers to realize the lasting impact that they've had on some of our young people's lives," Jenkins said.

The letters come from graduating seniors and are written in appreciation to the elementary or middle school teachers who helped lead them to success.

Several teachers were recognized at Lake Nona Middle School, including chorus teacher Courtney Connelly.

"It's a big deal, and I think most teachers that love to teach feel that's kind of our purpose," Connelly said.

Haley Chafin wrote the letter and surprised her former teacher with a visit to her class.

"She always told us, 'Don't perform to impress, perform to inspire,'" Chafin said. "That really stuck with me, and it's kind of been my motto for all of my performances that I've had."

This week, 189 letters will be hand-delivered by school board members and staff, the district said.

The remainder of the 9,900 letters will be mailed or couriered to teachers through the end of Teacher Appreciation Week.

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