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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — Sometimes all you need is a little recognition. On Tuesday, one Indiana teacher received her long-awaited praise.

Angela Fowler is a 4th grade math teacher at Grassy Creek Elementary School in Johnson County. She was born and raised on the south side of Indianapolis, going to St. Roch Catholic school, Roncalli High School, and then to Ball State University in Muncie.

Students and staff at Grassy Creek gathered together Tuesday, but no one was quite sure why they were all gathered together. That’s when representatives from the Milken Family Foundation stepped up and started giving a speech about honoring one certain teacher.

“It’s not me,” said Fowler, “I’m thinking of all the awesome teachers we have here at Grassy Creek like our reading teachers. When they called my name, I was, again, in complete shock.”

Students and staff erupted into cheers as Fowler stood from her seat and embraced both Milken representatives and the giant, white check for 25-grand. As for what she plans to do with the money, “I can’t even tell you for sure right now. My first thought was how can I use this for my students, how can I use it to help out with my education and further my knowledge in math teaching as well because math is my passion.”

She says education has been a tough career choice, but she says it’s been worth it and the kids especially make it all worth it.

“The Milken Educator Awards, created by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987, recognizes teaching excellence publicly not only to inspire educators, but also students and entire communities about the importance of joining the teaching profession.

The prestigious honor, to be presented this 2022-23 school year at up to 40 schools across the nation, has been described as “the Oscars of Teaching.” More than $140 million in funding, including over $73 million in individual $25,000 Awards, has been devoted to the overall initiative, which includes powerful professional learning opportunities throughout recipients’ careers.”