Teachers Can Inspire Us And Make An Impact, As Proven By Venus Williams’ Visit To Her First-Grade Classroom

"You are a star. Thank you for all that you've done to help me rise."

"Boys and girls, this is Venus Williams," Ms. Judy Vellegas tells a group of students, her eyes beaming just as much as theirs are. This isn't the first time the tennis pro and this Californian school teacher have met, though, as Vellegas was actually Williams' first-grade teacher.

As part of California Lottery's Back to the Start initiative and 2017's upcoming Teacher Appreciation Week, the 36-year-old visited Mark Twain Elementary in Lynwood, where she lived until moving to Florida in the sixth grade, to honor Vellegas as someone who made an impact on her life

"I chose to come here today because it was an opportunity to make a connection that I hadn't made in 30 years," Williams said at the beginning of the video. "Ms. Vellegas, I remember I felt inspired. I felt nourished. The care that she takes with each student, you can tell that there's love in her heart."

Vellegas — who has been teaching at Mark Twain Elementary for 34 years and, per People, taught Williams back in 1986-87 — was shocked to see her former pupil walk through the door. After introducing Williams to the class, she showed off a photo of and school work from Williams when she was a kid.


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"And you've gone so far," Vellegas tells Williams, the students having obviously recognized the sports star. "Be proud of yourself."

"I wanted to show my appreciation and to thank you with something tangible. It says: You are a star. Thank you for all that you've done to help me rise," Williams says, handing over a plaque to Vellegas, who is nothing but appreciative for the gesture.

"I think my purpose has been to be here. I can't think of anything else I'd rather have done in my life," Vellegas says, explaining why she became a teacher in the first place. "These kids are our future. We have to prepare them for that."

This is a wonderful moment to see shared between Williams and her former first-grade teacher, and something most everyone can relate to. Perhaps we should all go back and visit that one teacher who opened up a world of infinite possibilities for us this Teacher Appreciation Week.

Watch the entire heartwarming moment here:

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