Northside High School graduate Brandi Clay is back where it all began.
Only this time, the former student has been named a finalist in the high school category of the Lafayette Education Foundation teacher awards.
As a teacher, Clay says she's focused on giving back to the school and the students that have given so much to her.
"All of my kids are amazing, even the ones I don't teach. I truly think Northside High School is a gem, filled with jewels," she says. "Students that are going to do great things not only with this community but also with this world."
Like so many teachers in Lafayette Parish, Brandi is deserving of all the accolades, attention and notoriety that the LEF Teacher Awards bring.
And for Brandi, becoming a finalist has been a truly humbling experience.
"All of these teachers are phenomenal so to be among the great of the great, it motivates me to want to work harder for my students and the community."
She teaches JAG, Jobs for American Graduates, at Northside High. And the coursework is all about channeling and fine-tuning the potential of her students.
"It's my responsibility to help students remove the emotional and social barriers that are keeping them from realizing what their potential is and being successful inside of the classroom," says Clay.
And in her daily work, that's exactly what she does. Clearing the path to a potentially bright and beautiful future with a bit of guidance and motivation.
"I love all of my students as if they were my own," she says. "And I only push them because I want them to be able to see how great they can be with a little hard work and dedication."
The LEF Teacher Awards take place on Wednesday, January 29 at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette.
To purchase tickets to this year's ceremony, visit LEF Foundation website .