BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Mrs. Jeanette Kopp’s first grade classroom has been a place of learning and love for 26 years.
“In first grade they come to you as babies, many of them not knowing all of their alphabet, their numbers. The growth you see in a year is just tremendous. To send them on to second grade as real learners, that’s pretty rewarding and exciting,” said Kopp.
A little girl named Christmas walked into Mrs. Kopp’s class 18 years ago.
“She always welcomed me since day one. I felt like she was another mother to me because it was difficult growing up in the situation that I was in,” said Christmas Egger, former student.
You see, Egger was ripped from her family that year by Child Protective Services.
“Mrs. Kopp found out that I was going to have to move schools and she didn’t want that to happen,” Egger said.
She was right, Mrs. Kopp didn’t want that to happen.
“It broke my heart to know that she was going to have to change schools. She’d been through a big trauma, the whole family had. I knew she was living in a place where she wouldn’t be able to come to our school. I got permission from my principal to pick her and her brother up every morning. I’d bring them to school and take them home at the end of the day,” Kopp said.
It was much more than a ride to and from school.
“Around 7:30 in the morning she would come pick me up. I wasn’t even dressed, my hair wasn’t brushed and she’d sit me down on the counter top and brush my hair every morning. That changed my life,” Egger said.
To Egger, Mrs. Kopp was the mother figure she needed when she didn’t have one.
“I’m more than thankful and I want everybody to know that,” Egger said.
Nearly two decades later, Egger is once again in Mrs. Kopp’s class, this time as a parent to her own little girl, Brooke.
“I wish teachers could understand that the simplest little things they do for children makes a huge impact. People like Mrs. Kopp who help children like me, we need more people like that,” Egger said.
Mrs. Kopp said this is the first time she has had a child of a former student in her class and it’s very special that Egger’s child is the first.