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Hometown Mentor: Rocky Mount teacher goes above and beyond for students, parents and peers

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 5:54 AM EST
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ROCKY MOUNT, Va. (WDBJ) - A Franklin County teacher is making quite the name for himself after being named the Virginia State Teacher of the Year. But if you ask Anthony Swann, a teacher at Rocky Mount Elementary School, it is the work he is doing with his students that is his biggest accomplishment.

Swann doesn’t just see himself as a teacher. He wants to be a mentor for students, particularly boys, who may be struggling in their own lives.

“I wanted to give children what I never experienced, which was a positive role model and the love from a male’s perspective with no motives,” Swann said.

Swann grew up in foster care and rotated between several homes over the years. He lacked a father figure in his life, and admittedly struggled as a child. But in 4th grade, his teacher helped him turn things around.

“When I was taken to a foster home, she actually grabbed me before she allowed social services to take me and she said ‘Anthony, everything is going to be alright,’” Swann said. “To this day she still calls me and she still reaffirms those words that everything is going to be alright.”

Swann goes out of his way to ensure all his students feel cared for and loved. His work ethic and mission in life is also rubbing off on parents and his peers. Co-worker Melissa Hodges nominated Swann to be a Hometown Mentor after seeing an interaction he had with a parent.

“It was a cold, rainy day and we had a parent that was struggling to learn the canvas. He took over an hour going over step by step, working with this parent, working with the students. Anthony is just a blessing,” she said.

Swann will go on to represent Virginia in the National Teacher of the Year contest in 2021.

If you know a teacher, coach or mentor making a difference, be sure to nominate them to be a WDBJ Hometown Mentor by emailing Josh Birch at jbirch@wdbj7.com or submitting a nomination form here.

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