First at 5/ Feb. 6, 2014
AUGUSTA Ga (WRDW) -- February's Time To Care Award winner has a love for books and a passion for teaching children to read.
She works eight hours a day five days a week at River Ridge Elementary in Evans and we surprised her right outside her classroom.
Kathleen Bigham never saw it coming. An ambush right there in the hallway to present her with the award. Teachers came from nearby classrooms to be part of the surprise.
When her own classroom fills with students, she spends her days taking them on one adventure after another. It's the kind of adventure only a book can offer.
"Welcome... welcome...welcome...I am so excited today," she tells the children gathered on the carpet around her chair.
Bigham understands the importance of her mission.
"The magic of a book in a child's hand- is their world and their life from that moment on when they open that book. They become so enchanted with the world and they become so confident they just can't wait to open it again," she says.
But a book in ms. Bigham's hands comes to life. She draws her audience in even more.
"I brought my very favorite storybook," she tells them.
You can see it in their faces. When this teacher cracks open a book, watch out.
"Come...called the old woman. There's more than enough for all of us. The hunters grew angry, because Kinejuwah was better at hunting than they were."
Bigham isn't just a great reader, she manages to make her students better readers too.
"Children that are readers and are confident readers have the world opened to them. And there are so many things they can do through life, because they can read", she says.
Revelle Cox is principal at River Ridge Principal. She knows something special when she sees it.
"I always say Ms. Bigam came to us from heaven," Cox says.
She's seen what teachers like Kathleen Bigham can mean to a child.
"They're mesmerized by Ms. Bigam. The dynamics in that classroom- they want to please her, they're excited to be there," Cox says. "They're comfortable, they're confident."
But when it's payday at River Ridge, Ms. Bigham really stands out from the rest. Even though she gets here at 7:30 a.m. and stays until 4 p.m. she doesn't get a paycheck.
She's a volunteer. A retired teacher who decided she wasn't ready to give it up.
As Principal Cox puts it, "She has the heart of a teacher, she doesn't have the paycheck of a teacher. So it's just such a gift to us that she does this. So we wanted to honor her and let her know we appreciate everything she does for the boys and girls of River Ridge- and the teachers."
Even in this digital smart phone age Ms. Bigham says the time you have to read with your children is the most valuable thing you will ever give them.
News 12 wants to thank to our Time To Care partners for making all this possible. Academy Sports and Outdoors and Subway.