16 Excellence in Education Winner: Cindy Streich

Kids aren't the only ones excited to see the school year come to a close, the teachers are too; but you can bet they will continue to think about their students for years to come.

Our second 16 Excellence in Education story reunites a teacher and former student at Marshall Intermediate in South Bend. This visit took some preparation with the color purple.

“I watch you every morning and you're wearing purple, I love it!” said Cindy Streich as we came into her classroom to surprise her with the award.

One look at Streich and you know she's a standout teacher. The color purple is everywhere in her classroom, even in her hair.

If that doesn’t catch your eyes, then maybe something else will; her love for special education students.

Streich has been a teacher for 36 years and has taught thousands of students—but she still remembers one in particular.

“Kayla! Guys this is a student I had 4 years ago. Tell them who your favorite teacher must've been,” Streich said as Kayla walked into the room.

“You. Cause you're a nice teacher,” she responded.

Kayla Prater is a Riley High School senior now. She wrote us a touching letter to tell us about her favorite middle school teacher.

“She encouraged me to work hard and be the best that I can be,” Prater said. “She told me if I work hard I will go far in life. She asked me what my dream would be. And I told her to graduate from high school.”

Kayla is going to graduate this year; and not only that, she's had perfect attendance. She saw our 16 Excellence in Education award as a chance to write in and say thank you.

“She's the best teacher I had and she helped me through a lot,” Prater said.

Kayla needed extra help in math and English; but Miss Streich understands that special education students often face more challenges than just the books.

“I'm really proud of her,” Streich said. “I mean I think it’s really great, because many times my students don't go on and graduate, and when ever they graduate it's really very special to me."

For Miss Streich, this is one celebration worth sharing.

“You worked hard. It’s paid off and I'm really happy for her; more happy for her than I am for myself, but it’s really a nice surprise.”

Streich won a $1,000 savings bond from Notre Dame Federal Credit Union.

To read about our first winner, David Stuckey, click here.

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