Socastee High School celebrates SC's Teacher of the Year

Jennifer Ainsworth is back in her classroom at Socastee High School, after being named South Carolina's Teacher of the Year last week, but her students and fellow teachers couldn't just let her go back to work without a big celebration in her honor.

With smiles all around, Monday's school assembly was a chance for the high school to show its pride in having the state's top teacher.

In true winner's fashion, special education teacher Jennifer Ainsworth gave all the credit for her award to the people she works with.

"We're a team, we've always worked together, we put the children first," said Ainsworth. "Like I always say with special education, with them, we see the ability, but we don't see the disability."

There were hugs and handshakes, tiaras and balloons at Monday's celebration.

And there was a brand new made-in-South Carolina BMW X5 that Ainsworth will get to drive free for a year.

She will also get a $25,000 dollar cash award, which she hasn't decided how to spend.

"Once we get the cash, I'm going to sit with my family and decide what's the best to do with that."

The school's principal says Ainsworth deserves whatever honors she receives for the good she does for her students.

"She works so well with the student body and the student body has adopted her class, so they're great together and she works so well in the community," said Dr. Paul Browning.

But the final word goes to the kids Ainsworth works with every day.

One student's assessment is that South Carolina's Teacher of The Year is like "a movie star."

"She's fun, she's awesome and she's a great role model," said Savannah Thompson.

Ainsworth is the first teacher from Horry County to be named SC Teacher of the Year.