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12 News A+ Teacher: Salwa Gebara from Great Hearts Academy

The French teacher has spent 10 years teaching in Gilbert and speaks multiple languages.

GILBERT, Ariz. — A Valley French teacher is celebrating 10 years in the classroom and has officially taught 1,000 students the French language.  

“She’s a wonderful and absolutely beautiful person… she’s been teaching with us for 10 years,” said Neil Gillingham, headmaster at Great Hearts Archway Arete Academy in Gilbert, as he heads to French teacher Salwa Gebara’s classroom for a surprise visit.

“She does not know a news crew is on their way,” Gillingham said.

The visit was done to recognize Madame Gebara as the "12 News A+ Teacher of the Week."

“Passionate about her subject, passionate about her kids and just the gentlest, sweetest soul,” Gillingham said about Gebara. 

Gillingham said she works with more than 100 kids daily, teaching French to students in 2nd through 5th grade.

“That’s over 350 kids and over 10 years, that’s well over 1,000 kids she’s taught the language of French,” Gillingham added.

Credit: 12 News

“Bonjour Madame Gebara… may I interrupt your class for one moment?” he says as he walked into her classroom. 

“Boys and girls, Madame Gebara is the 12 News A+ Teacher of the Week," Gillingham told her students. “Let’s give her a round of applause.”

It was a visit that quickly brought tears of joy to her eyes.

“Thank you so much,” Gebara said. “Thank you so much for coming to our school. Thank you for the opportunity for having the chance to teach the students... I am so honored... merci… thank you.”

Gebara, who’s originally from Lebanon, not only speaks French and English fluently but also Arabic. She said she loves coming to class every day and seeing her students accomplish so much.

“We begin with courage first, because they come to class not knowing anything,” Gebara said. “They are amazing, and they always push as high as they can reach.”

Madame Gebara said her students' determination is what keeps her sharp.

She's grateful for this recognition.

“Thank you so much for being here and honoring all of us together,” she said. “We promise we’re going to continue the good work over the year, and hopefully one day they’re going to come back and say 'Madame Gebara, we’re going to France. Thank you so much!'”

Congratulations Mrs. Gebara!

If you'd like to nominate a teacher who’s made a difference in your life - to be recognized as a "12 News A+ Teacher," send in your nomination by emailing connect@12news.com. Be sure to include the teacher's name, why they deserve to be recognized, and your contact information.

RELATED: 12 News A+ Teacher of the Week: Laura Quisberg from Laguna Elementary

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