This year's national teacher of the year _ Sean McComb of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts in Baltimore _ was honored in the East Room of the White House on Thursday as President Barack Obama recapped the story of his early life.
"When Sean was a high school student, he dealt with some pretty serious problems at home and spent his days feeling apathetic and disengaged. And then he entered Mr. Schurtz's English class. And Mr. Schurtz was one of those teachers who changes everything. He made Sean want to work hard.
"When Sean's mom passed away, Mr. Schurtz gave Sean the strength to deliver her eulogy. When Sean went to college, it was, as he put it, through the force of Mr. Schurtz's will," Obama said. "So Sean himself saw the impact that a teacher could have in a child's life. And it was Mr. Schurtz's example that led Sean to become an English teacher himself."
McComb now works with students who need extra help in his school's AVID program, short for Advancement Via Individual Determination.
Obama wrapped up his remarks by thanking all the nation's teachers.
"You're doing the Lord's work," he said.