BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Daphne Hawkins is a John Battle High School graduate who, after running track at and graduating from Mt. Olive College, returned to the area to teach and coach at Tri-Cities Christian Academy.

“I love to teach because it gives me an opportunity to do God’s calling on my life,” Hawkins said.

Now, she is in her third year of teaching history at the school and coaches basketball, volleyball and track after school hours.

“I want them to know that I’m there for them outside of whatever sport or whatever lesson I might be teaching them in the classroom,” Hawkins said. “I want them to know they are loved and cared for first.”

And her students feel that dedication and compassion — even in the heat of competition.

“She’s very calm and collected, and she brings a peace to you that is crazy even though the game might be out of control,” said freshman Savannah Barb.

“It can get really stressful sometimes, and sometimes I feel really overloaded but having someone to talk to that understands is really helpful,” said another freshman, Michaela Dixon.

That helping hand comes from a lifetime around education and seeing firsthand the impact teachers and coaches can have.

“My dad always taught me growing up — he’s always said the basketball court, the volleyball court, the football field is just like the classroom; you are teaching them something, first and foremost you are teaching them life lessons,” Hawkins said.

Congratulations to this week’s Educator of the Week, Daphne Hawkins.

To nominate an educator, click here.