HOMETOWN HERO: Phyllis Sweatt, Bowling Green High School

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- After more than 20 years on the job, one Bowling Green High School Family and Consumer Science teacher is being celebrated as this week's Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero.

Those who know Phyllis Sweatt say her leadership and advising have helped students experience opportunities they otherwise may have never had.

She invited us into her classroom to learn more about her and her students.

"Thank you all so much. Make sure that names are on your papers cause I've got to grade these tonight," says Phyllis Sweatt, talking to her students and taking up papers after class.

She's now in her 21st year in the classroom, and being a Purple is a title she takes on with pride.

"Oh wow. It felt just like it did when I first walked through the door. Not that much has changed -- for me," she says.

Her passion for teaching has led to recognition on many levels.

Sweatt says, "I've gotten a lot of awards over the years and I'm proud of every single one that I've gotten. And I couldn't do it without the students and I couldn't do it without the support of the school."

But never before has she been named a Hometown Hero.

"I was shocked," she says, finding out about the nomination,"I'm just proud."

But she doesn't teach for awards or recognition. She says everything she does is for her students.

"I hope that when they walk in my room that they know that I have their back, I'm here for them. I wouldn't have a job if the students didn't walk in this classroom every single day," she says.

Students we spoke with say they think very highly of her.

"I think Ms. Sweatt is very deserving of this honor because she teaches us hands-on activities that we are going to use for the rest of our lives and help us grow in life and be prepared, and I think she's the true definition of a servant's heart putting the kids before herself and making sure that we learn everything," says John Downing, as Senior at Bowling Green High School.

"I just want to make a difference and I think everyone in the building wants every child to have someone to care about them and to make sure that they have a different person to be able to talk to them, be able to give them some knowledge, and be able to make a difference in their lives," adds Sweatt.

Marissa Lopez, another Senior at Bowling Green, says, "She (Ms. Sweatt) does a lot of good stuff for the school and she gives back to the community."

Over the last two decades of teaching, Sweatt says, "I just see that kids need more nurturing than they have ever had in their life. They always say that nurturing, they don't want it in the high school -- it's needed. Just to come in and say, "Hey baby! How you doing? What's your name? This, that, and the other -- they need that."

For taking time to get to know each student, passing milestones like teaching for 20 years, and continuing to create hands-on lesson plans to prepare students for life after high school, we honor Phyllis Sweatt as this week's Hughes and Coleman Hometown Hero.

In addition to teaching culinary and fashion classes, Ms. Sweatt is also an adviser for the FCCLA club at Bowling Green High School.

She'll be representing Kentucky for the 2018 National American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year.

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