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'Tears of joy': Teacher celebrates 80th birthday, 56 years in the classroom

"I thank God every day, every day for helping me run this race," the longtime teacher said.

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Administrators and staff at McDonogh 35 College Preparatory High School in New Orleans hosted a special celebration this week.

The school hosted a party celebrating Sylvia Crier's 80th birthday and her 56th year in the classroom.

Crier began her teaching career in 1964.

"Nothing has prepared me for this year," said Crier. "I thought (Hurricane) Katrina was bad, but this is even worse."

The longtime teacher told sister station WDSU that despite the challenges of teaching during a global pandemic, she can handle it.

"This too shall pass," said Crier. "I thank God every day, every day for helping me run this race."

Crier had no idea she was being celebrated.

"They pulled this one off on me this morning," said Crier. "Tears of joy. I'm overwhelmed."