INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis educator thought Thursday was going to be a regular day, but instead she hit the jackpot.
The choir sang, the principal spoke and Assistant Principal Candace Ewing -- who attended Pike Township schools and returned to teach and lead -- sat quietly, unaware she was part of a surprise at Snacks Crossing Elementary School.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett was also in on the secret, praising the school for its anti-bullying efforts.
Ewing watched and clapped with no idea of what was coming next, while a member of the Milken Foundation was sitting close by.
The group honors educators across the country and was only acknowledging one in Indiana.
"The Milken is so prestigious it's considered the Oscars of teaching," said Jane Foley, with the Milken Family Foundation.
Foley then announced the latest recipient of the Milken award, and its $25,000 prize -- Candace Ewing.
"I love my Snacks Crossing family, I love Pike Township," Ewing said. "I went to Pike K through 12, so it's a blessing to be back here as an educator. Every day the work is good. I love every single kiddo."
Ewing praised her family for helping her become the latest pride of Pike Township.
"My parents did a wonderful job raising me, and gave me a wonderful education in Pike Township," she said. "And (they) instilled in me the importance of education and going to college and always putting my best foot forward every day, so thank you Mom and Dad."
The Milken Educator Award is given to at least 40 educators nationwide every year.
Since 1993, 57 Hoosiers have received the award totaling $1.4 million.