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KK Cherney Teaches Life Lessons at Chet's Creek Elementary

11:04 AM, Sep 8, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Originally KK Cherney was selected as a Teacher of the Week, but it turns out Cherney knows more about being a hero than, say, Wonder Woman.

The mighty media specialist at Chet's Creek Elementary proudly admitted she's a book pusher, and has been for 17 years.

"I'm just the biggest literacy advocate that you could ever find," Cherney said. "I think that's the secret to everything."

She has a way of bringing drama to everything.

Her costume, channeling a little Wonder Woman and a little Liza Minnelli, is not unusual. This one goes along with the school's theme this year - superheroes.

"You're only a child once," Cherney said. "I really want them to have fun when they come to school."

And that fun inspires them to get serious about learning.

At a few minutes to 11 a.m., Cherney started a seemingly normal class in the media center.

"How many of you love science?," she asked the class, and hands shot up. "I want them to be knowledge seekers and come in here and say, 'I really want a book on... whatever it may be.'"

The cape-wearing librarian also wants her students to know they can be real heroes.

"[Cherney] really embodies a superhero for kids to be a good role model for kids to see," explained Elizabeth Conte, a fellow teacher.

A special guest in the class is Conte's daughter, Kate. "She's magical," Cherney said of Kate. "When she walks into a room, everybody stops and looks at her."

Kate was born with congenital myatonic dystrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy rare in children.

"I've made a promise to Kate that I will always, always be her cheerleader," Cherney said.

Cherney's students watched as she was "arrested" for having a big heart, and put her behind bars to raise money for MDA. The organization helps pay some of the costs associated with Kate's disease.

The class and the whole school rallied behind their beloved teacher, who has a message for her students.

"This lent itself to be the perfect teachable moment, because anybody can be a hero," Cherney said. "It's about paying it forward, it's about not being focused on self. That's life, and I want to share that with every one of our students. All 1,300!"

So far Cherney has raised over $2,000. If you would like to be a hero too, and contribute to her "bail" which goes to help kids like Kate, click here to visit her MDA donation page.

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