Who watched the Falcons game yesterday?!? What a great game that was! It was part blowout, part nail-biter, perfectly scripted if you’re a Falcons fan. (Not so much if you’re a Bengals fan). I had particular enjoyment for the drama of this particular game because I knew at least one person there that was getting a real show, and he’s a “hero”…

Let me give you a little background. I’m thrilled to be able to photograph events through a program called “Heroes in the Classroom”, sponsored by Symetra Financial, SunTrust Banks and the Atlanta Falcons. The Heroes in the Classroom program was started by Symetra Financial in Seattle, and this year they’ve expanded the program to Chicago and Atlanta. This fabulous program accepts nominations from the public, to recognize teachers with exemplary leadership and instructional skills. It is always a joy to see a teacher get recognition for the hard work they do, but this one left a lasting impression on me.

Mr. Jenkins is a teacher at Riverdale High School, and from the moment I followed Freddie the Falcon into Mr. Jenkins’ classroom where he was surprised with the award, I knew he was a real hero. You can tell from just a few minutes with him and his students that he is making a difference in people’s lives. His appearance, demeanor, and speech are a constant example of excellence for his students, and the joy and gratitude on his face showed even more how deserving of the award he was.

He was overjoyed at the recognition, and was looking forward to being at the game yesterday, where he was able to receive an award on the sidelines before the game and see his own image on the jumbotron. So as I watched, I thought, what a great game for him to enjoy as a reward for his efforts! Congratulations, Mr. Jenkins!