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People Taking Action: NewsChannel 3 honors beloved teacher’s assistant and cancer survivor

Posted at 7:53 PM, Jan 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-27 19:53:18-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - Marica Mills wears a lot of hats at Parkway Elementary School in Virginia Beach.

She's a special education teacher's assistant who also serves on bus duty when the kids are heading home from school. She also volunteers after classes helping lead Parkway's dance step team.

She was stunned when we surprised her in front of the staff and the school's step team. Tears were running down her face. We told her it was former student, Cassie Marshall who sent an email,  sharing how Marica has made such a huge impact.

"She spends her time not only teaching students, but working hand in hand with the Parkway Elementary School Step Team. What people don't know about Marica is that she's a cancer survivor. But instead of thinking of herself, every day she takes a piece of those kids home with her. She's everyone's mom. She makes sure that these kids will reach all heights and that they have the tools to do so."

For those reasons, we presented Marica with a NewsChannel 3 People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.

With tears streaming down her face, she was very thankful.

"I could not do this without the help of the good Lord. Wow, this is overwhelming and I love it. But really every one of the kids on this stage and staff, they deserve a piece of this award."

For about 10 years, Marica has been the one staying after school with rehearsals. The performances take place across Hampton Roads.  Coordinating Parkway Elementary's step team is all volunteer, and Marica also stresses community service. When they performed before the Union Mission Homeless Shelter, it wasn't just about doing fancy dance moves, they also collected various toiletries to donate to the homeless residents there.