BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One teacher’s quest to improve the lives of her students is getting national attention.

Mike Schuh reported from her south Baltimore school Tuesday morning as she was surprised by an opportunity to pay for her dream.

Kelly Meeder has been a teacher for six years at Lakeland Elementary/Middle School. Tuesday will be a day she never forgets.

At her school, 95 percent of students are below the poverty rate. Their computer lab is obsolete. Their 8-year-old laptops crash and many can’t even hold a charge.

“Kids have to search for computers that actually work,” Micah Crump, the technology teacher said. “Yep so these are good paperweights.”

The city school budget is breaking hearts, and the teachers known their students are falling behind.

“For some of these students the only time they get on a computer is here at school. They don’t have them at home,” Crump added.

That’s where Randy Rice comes in.

“When you have a teacher like Meeder come forward with a proposal like this, it can really changed the way kids learn.” Rice said.

He works for Farmers Insurance.

Meeder heard of their contest to give five schools $100,000 to fund a dream. Her dream is to build a modern tech lab.

“We tell them they can do anything, they can be anybody, but if they don’t even have the basic technology,” Crump said.

On Tuesday, Meeder thought her class had been called to the gym for a talk on mentoring. In reality, it was something else.

“I’m here to congratulate you on being one the finalists on the Dream Big challenge,” Rice said.

So to get the money, America votes. Meeder is up against two other projects, one in Southern Maryland and one in Virginia.

“I know, I cannot believe it,” Meeder said. “I am so shocked.”

With tears of joy she said, “I’m like so overwhelmed, I think I could lose it right now.”

You can vote for Meeder’s project starting Oct. 1. Click here to vote.

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