Teacher Appreciation Week: teacher works extra hours to help with college applications

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's one thing for teachers to tell students to apply to college.

It is another to log countless hours helping them fill out applications.

Manassas High School students invited WREG to meet one of their teachers who they said was walking the walk.

Ms. Camillia Blackwell said she helped fill out a "couple hundred" college applications this school year.

"If you want it, I will help you get it," Blackwell said.

She has been with Manassas five years.

Shes started out as a biology teacher, but soon realized seniors came to her for help with their college applications.

"Which I thought was a little weird. I am the biology teacher, but they gravitated towards me," Blackwell said.

Now, she's an instructional facilitator, where her chief responsibility she told us was to coach teachers.

Still, Blackwell was able to dedicate numerous hours to helping students apply to college.

In fact, she organized and attended college visits with the students.

"It was really nice to have her there to help me, to guide me," said senior Vandreil Pruitt, who toured a college with Blackwell.

At Manassas, students must fill out ten college applications.

According to Shelby County Schools,  college acceptance at Manassas went from 16% to 98% at the high school.

That's in part thanks to Blackwell.

Many students, like Calvin Gill, Jr., told WREG they were the first in their families to go.

"It's amazing. You know, that's motivation for me as a man, because I know I would like to, as you said, make history in my family," Gill said.

Blackwell posted some of her students' college acceptance letters in the school hallways to show other students that college was an achievable goal.

The students at Manassas High School told WREG they wanted to thank Blackwell this Teacher Appreciation Week.

"Just to see the students' reaction after they receive acceptance letters. It makes me happy," Blackwell said.

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