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Three Camden teachers get $5,000 each during surprise visits amid tears and cheers

This is the third year that the Camden Education Fund has given the RISE Award, a $5,000 cash award to outstanding teachers. School principals nominated 50 candidates and an outside committee narrowed the field to eight finalists and then three winners. Fourth-grade teacher Erica Nelms was reviewing math problems with her students when a small entourage unexpectedly filed into her classroom Friday. Then the language arts teacher at KIPP Lanning Square Primary burst into tears when Jonathan Garr from the Camden Education Fund announced that Nelms won.  

As cheers erupted in the classroom, Nelms, pregnant with her first child, bent over, hugging her belly. Tears streamed down her face,“I love my kids. I love my school,” Nelms said. “It’s good to be recognized when you work hard and pour your heart into something.” 

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