At T.C. Roberson High School, freshman Annie is one of nine students in Kristan Bigelow's special education class.
Annie has autism and is thriving in high school, thanks, her mom Betsy Brewer says, to Ms. Bigelow.
"I feel like she truly has Annie's best interest at heart," Brewer said. "She wants her to be successful."
Bigelow, a special education teacher for 27 years, laughs, smiles and jokes her way through the day, as she navigates students with a wide range of special needs.
"I'm having more fun on this job," she says laughing.
"Having a sense of humor and knowing things aren't always going to go perfectly," adds Bigelow, when asked what it takes to be a successful special education teacher.
But at one time, Bigelow was serious about becoming an attorney.
"Then I spent a summer working as a camp counselor for underprivileged kids and fell in love with some students with disabilities. I went back to college, changed my major and I never looked back."
It's a decision Annie's mother is grateful for. "This year, I've seen Annie become more independent, become better at communicating," says Brewer
"I do love what I do. There's never a dull moment. I never have a day that goes gracefully, but we all end up at the end of the day enjoying it," Bigelow said.
Enjoyable days, Betsy knows, will lead to a bright future for Annie.
"I would like to see her live as independent a life as possible and to be able to work," Betsy Brewer said when asked about her dreams for Annie.