MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) --English teacher Trenquilla Francis could have taught anywhere in the world, but this globe-trotting teacher chose Vista del Lago High School in Moreno Valley after a student inspired her.
"One of my students who hated reading, really hated it, she said, 'Ms. Francis, guess what I got for Christmas?,' and it was a book series that we had never even mentioned," Francis said. "She inspired me to stay in the United States and really help her and all the others."
Last year, ABC7 featured Francis' class after a viewer using #abc7eyewitness told us about how the beloved teacher had increased her students' reading scores, earning them a trip to Disneyland.
On Monday, she was the one being recognized after being named one of only six recipients of the prestigious 180 Educator Awards.
The award honors the dedication and achievements of teachers in and outside the classroom.
"Their hard work is why I'm here, why I have been chosen. Without them, I definitely wouldn't be here," Francis said.
Dr. Janelle Woodward, the principal at Vista del Lago High School, says she's not surprised Francis is being recognized.
Francis' class helps struggling readers by improving their literacy skills. Her students credit her for turning them from reluctant to voracious bookworms.
"Reading is not really that bad. It actually helps me understand and calms my state of mind when I'm just sitting there watching the words take place in my mind," student Wilamina Smith-Marin said.
Francis teaches the course with her husband, John. The husband-and-wife teaching team help students tackle literacy one book at a time.
"By the end of the journey with us, they start realizing that maybe reading is not so bad, it's kind of cool," Francis said.
She will be honored in a ceremony during an education conference in Florida next month. She's also set to receive $300 worth of books to add to her growing classroom library.