NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Turning heads and creating smiles with her positive, cheerful attitude, a teacher in Keith County is making the day bright, one student at a time.
Mrs. Kate Diaz greets students at Prairie View School on Wednesday morning as they arrive at school. (Source: Holly Barraclough, KNOP TV)
Kate Diaz teaches at Prairie View School in Ogallala. She gets to work early, stands outside before school and greets the kids as they arrive.
The students can be seen running to her, eager to say hi or give her a high 5 on their way inside the building.
Sixth grader Anica Bush said she loves being greeted by the teacher.
"Mrs. Diaz, she is a great teacher and I think she does it to make everybody feel welcomed at school," said Bush "It makes me feel pretty happy because it’s like 'this might not be as bad because we have Mrs. Diaz as a teacher' and on Fridays she hands out chocolate kisses which makes it even better."
Diaz greets students, parents faculty and staff, anyone who walks by her.
"It's like it's freezing outside and shes standing out there greeting all these kids, there's like 600 of us that she greets," said Bush.
Mrs. Diaz said she arrives early and stands in the sometimes cold conditions, because of what it does for the students' day and starting them off on as optimistic note.
"If you start out positive, it will end up being a positive day until somebody brings it down and then I think it’s our responsibility as teachers to bring that back up," said Diaz, "It’s tough being a teacher, I have to admit, but sometimes we can get down on kids, now we have to bring them back up, so it’s a big thing to me."
Diaz said she got the idea from a principal in Lincoln. "It really started I was in Lincoln picking up my grandchildren when there was a principal always outside and I was so impressed by that and it was terrible weather," she said, "That man, every morning, was greeting the kids and I thought 'this is a wonderful thing to do to children' and since, I started doing this at the beginning of the school year."
She said she has noticed a difference in the students' demeanor after the positive interaction. "It’s one of those things that everybody’s been really positive about it, you can see the kids running up, they’re so excited to see me in the morning and if I’m not there they’ll say "where have you been?"
Diaz retired for two years and then came back to teaching this year, "It was one thing I wanted to do when I came back, was to make sure kids had a great day because I have a great morning, mornings are good for me, and I want every child to have a good morning."
Diaz said she plans to continue greeting people for as long as she is a teacher.