JOPPA, Md. (WJZ) — One Harford County teacher gets a big surprise at the end of her school’s annual talent show. She’s now holding a check for a lot of money thanks to the Ravens.

As Gigi Barnett explains, it’s part of the “Touchdown for Teachers” program.

Getting on the stage at Magnolia Middle School in Joppa takes courage. It’s the end of the year talent show. Guest judge Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams heard rap, pop and even songs in a foreign language.

While one group reigned supreme, the real winner was a teacher. Music teacher Jasmine Blanks won the Ravens’ “Touchdown for Teachers” award.

“The arts are, in my opinion, what brings them to school and what keeps them in school. It helps them make the real world connections,” Blanks said. “My class is one of the only classes where, when they come in, they have to take the knowledge and immediately do something with it.”

The award comes with a $1,000 check. It’s cash Blanks says she will be able to do something with.

“There’s a lot of good work that we always want to do with and for our students. Sometimes funds are short,” Blanks said. “So they bring their dreams here and I feel like it’s our role as teachers to help them catch their dreams.”

For Williams, Blanks is a reminder of those who inspired him.

“She’s an amazing teacher. My teachers back then, they helped me through a lot. I definitely see some of my teachers in her,” said Williams.

Blanks had a small idea that she was a finalist. She and four other finalists were honored recently at the Ravens draft party event at M&T Bank Stadium.

Blanks beat out 500 other teachers across the state for the award.

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