With only a few years of teaching under her belt, students are already impressed with Sheri Bettis.

She's their 7th grade English teacher at Bloomington Junior High.

"Like a friend slash teacher. You can always talk to her about stuff like family and a whole bunch of other things. If you're having a bad day, you can just go talk to her and she'll help you have a good day," said Sean Ndorongo, 7th grade student at Bloomington Junior High.

"More than other teachers and classes I get how she teaches....She breaks it down for us. We do different grammar lessons everyday in our packets and we put them in a sentence so it's easier to use in the future," added Marley Davis, 7th grade student at Bloomington Junior High.

For Mrs. Bettis, she didn't always have this career in mind.

"English was always a hobby, reading, writing, these were hobbies. to turn it into a career and it's been a meaningful career at that when I'm teaching young minds is amazing," said Bettis.

She was visibly emotional when we entered the classroom.

After we told her she was the latest Heart of Illinois ABC and CEFCU's One Class at a Time grant winner, she said she's not sure what she'll do with the grant money yet, but she already knows what lots of students need.

Bettis added, "Noise cancellation headphones would be a big thing, we do a lot with special needs kiddos, so giving them some of the tools they need to doing their job better will be first on the list."

She said board games are big in helping students with social and emotional learning.

For those in a low-income school, every resource counts.

The school's 2017 state report card showed almost 2 percent of students here are homeless.

"Teachers often spend a lot of our own money to put in our classrooms and to help the kiddos, so this is just huge. This is just huge. This means the world to a lot of the students," said Bettis.

Finding Bloomington Junior High was a homecoming for Mrs. Bettis, who feels she's always been a teacher at heart.