INDIANAPOLIS - One local teacher preparing for retirement has always made sure that her students not only feel smart, but loved too.
Linda Blankenship is retiring after teaching for 20 years -- most of that time was spent at Indianapolis Public Schools Raymond F. Brandes School 65.
Blankenship makes the extra effort to fill her students' hearts. One Christmas, she gave each student in her class a stuffed animal she collected from thrift stores.
"We wash them. We dry them. We get them all nice and fluffy," Blankenship said.
Over the years, that small gesture kept growing until every student in the school got their own stuffed animal.
"Even the sixth-graders like to come down and pick out an animal," Blankenship said.
Year after year, the tradition made School 65 a special place.
"It's all about them knowing that somebody cares and someone loves them," Principal Lauren Johnson said.
"You just see the glow on their faces," Blankenship said.
Blankenship said she knows she has something pretty special too -- something she will miss in her retirement.
Blankenship was not just packing up her classroom, she was also packing up her home to move closer to her grandkids. She said she will probably end up volunteering at their school because she will miss the classroom too much.