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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Keeping a room full of kindergarteners entertained is a challenge.

"You have to make it fun," said Marielle Slappe, a teacher at Ridgeview Elementary. "You have to be enthusiastic; it takes a lot."

Slappe takes it in stride.

The kindergarten teacher has been in the classroom nine years. She says the best part about teaching is realizing she's making a difference.

She adds she was shocked to be nominated.

"I'm very thankful that they nominated me and that they see that I do work really hard with their kids," Slappe said. "Even when we're having tough days I do try really hard."