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LEF Finalist Spotlight: Leah Williams

Posted at 4:13 AM, Jan 28, 2020

Sometimes life throws us a curve ball and that curve can lead to amazing things.

That's what happened to one Youngsville Middle teacher who is not only celebrating 17 years on the job but also a LEF nomination.

Leah Williams never thought she'd be a teacher. But there was something about the profession that just came naturally to her.

"When I stepped into the classroom it just came natural to me. I enjoyed the children, listening to them, and seeing what they know already and helping them learn new things." Williams says. "Seeing them grow everyday and doing things they didn't do when I first met them."

Teaching for almost a decade, Williams says the last 15 years are what really inspired her. That's when she made the move into special education.

She says it's her true calling.

"They're learning new things and when they go home they show their parents what they learn at school. I know that it's connecting what the parents want and what they need to learn to be independent in the world."

One way that Leah teaches her students independence is through the school's Dragon Coffee Court.

It's not only a way for her students to learn about making and serving coffee, but so much more.

Leah says it's about teaching them to interact with the public, something they'll need once they leave the shelter of school and go out into the real world.

"They enjoy going class to class, meeting the teachers, and the children know that they're coming," she says. "They get to connect with students they wouldn't see throughout the day. They're known throughout the school and if we didn't do this they would just be students here. It's to help them have a skill when they get out of school and they can work anywhere."

Like others nominated for this year's LEF Teacher Award, Leah says it means the world to know that someone thought enough of what she does for these children to thank her.

"I don't do it for the recognition. I do it for the children. To see them in the community after they leave me," she says. "Just to hear the parents say thank you for something so small means a lot. It means I did what I was supposed to do."

And while Leah never thought she'd get nominated, she's thankful.

Thankful that someone took the time to recognize the work she's doing to help others find their way in life.

The Lafayette Education Foundation Teacher Awards ceremony takes place Wednesday, January 29 at the Heymann Performing Arts Center.

The cost to attend is five dollars for students and teachers and ten for all other guests.

Tickets can be purchased at the Heymann Center box office or through Ticketmaster .