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Nampa teacher reunites with woman who inspired her career choice

It was an emotional reunion when first-year teacher Cherri Healea was surprised by a former teacher she hasn't seen in over 30 years.

NAMPA - A first-year teacher at Nampa's Greenhurst Elementary School got a special surprise when the woman who inspired her career choice showed up in her classroom.

Teaching second-graders at Greenhurst is a dream come true for Cherri Healea. She took a risk, quit her old job, and went back to school at CWI and NNU to make that happen. It took her seven years.

"Her inspiration was a teacher from the third grade, over thirty years later and here she is," explained Ashley Smith, a CWI employee who helped set up the reunion.

Then, the big moment - It was her teacher from all those years ago. Cherri fought back tears as she introduced Cari Woolery to her class.

"Boys and girls, this is my teacher from when I was in the third grade," she said. "And this lady right here was my very favorite teacher, she's the reason why I am your teacher. She inspired me to be a teacher."

Cari showed the class photo from all those years ago, and pointed out Cherri.

"I hope you know how lucky you are to have [her] as your teacher," Cari said to her protégé's class. "She is here because it's in her heart and she wants to be the very best teacher she can be."

The reunion was filled with emotion and happy tears.

Cari says she still misses teaching, but is thrilled to know she left a positive impression on her students.

"I taught for 25 years and then had to cut my career short due to I have [multiple schlerosis]," she said. "To hear something like this after 35 years, I just can't tell you what it means, that's the most special gift a teacher can get. My heart is happy!"

Cherri hopes to do the same for her students.

"I just knew that I wanted to be like her," she said. "I wanted to be like her because I like how she made me feel about myself. She made me believe that I was smart, and she made me believe in myself."