IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

These teachers making a lasting impact received a special surprise on TODAY

Six Florida teachers were surprised with gifts Tuesday for National Teacher Appreciation Day.
/ Source: TODAY

In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day, TODAY is celebrating a group of Florida teachers who have had a positive impact on their students.

One of those teachers is Natalie Stuart, who teaches third grade at Nova Eisenhower Elementary School in Davie, Florida, outside of Fort Lauderdale.

Stuart, who was recently named “Teacher of the Year” at her school, has gained attention and praise on social media for her TikTok videos with her students.

Initially, Stuart started posting on the platform to keep her students engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, she has almost half a million followers, and her adorable and funny clips have received over 15 million likes.

In one video, she gets her students to listen to her by singing the lyrics “I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want,” from the Spice Girls’ catchy track “Wannabe.” Her students then reply with the next line in the song, “So tell me what you want, what you really, really want!”

Other clips show classmates quoting “The Office” and calling Stuart “Your grace” as she playfully fans herself while wearing a tiara.

She also has uploaded multiple cute videos of her dancing with her students.

“Ms. Stuart is a one-of-a-kind, right?” Angine Tyghter, principal of Nova Eisenhower Elementary School, told TODAY. She added that the teacher knows how to engage and connect with her students to “meet them where they are.” 

Stuart, who works at a Title I school where a majority of the students are underprivileged and live in low-income communities, shared that students always tell her, “‘I want to be in your class next year. You have so much fun!’ And then they’ll tell me when they’re in here, ‘Ma'am, we work a lot!’” 

She keeps them productive and entertained by cutting out photos of celebrities and attaching them to Popsicle sticks to act as her teacher assistants. A few famous faces who the children enjoy seeing are Pauly D and Cardi B

On May 3, National Teacher Appreciation Day, Stuart joined fellow teachers from the Broward County School District – Lisette Torres, Ama O’Neal, Tammy Cheney, Yanneka Goulbourne and Lorraine Fischer — at Rockefeller Center’s Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace with TODAY’s Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie for a big surprise.

After Stuart explained how blessed she feels to have support from her students and other educators, TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones skated over and revealed that she heard Stuart’s car had recently broken down and caught fire.

“Well, Carvana heard your story and wanted to help you out,” Sheinelle said. She then gestured toward a monitor that showed a brand-new car with a bow attached to the hood being delivered to Stuart’s home.

She continued, “That Toyota 4Runner that you see right here in your driveway as we speak. … You are the proud owner!” 

As Sheinelle dangled the keys, Stuart covered her mouth and shouted, “Oh, my gosh!”

Sheinelle then asked the other teachers if they would like to go on vacation. 

Amara Cay Resort

When the ladies responded with a resounding “yes,” Sheinelle revealed that Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada, Florida, is gifting each teacher and guest with a three-night stay at the Florida Keys getaway plus $200 in daily resort credits and a $100 gas gift card. 

All the teachers cheered and agreed with Hoda and Savannah that they should make the trip a girls’ weekend.