MARTINEZ, Ga (WJBF) – Melanie Taylor teaches 8th grade Georgia History at Lakeside Middle School. When we showed up, they were about the be tested on a recent lesson.

“Today we’re just summing up some of the beginning of the Civil War,” Taylor says. ” We’re taking a quiz. Then we’re going to do an interactive notebook.”

So why middle school? Miss Taylor loves helping her kids get through this part of their academic career.

“I need them as much as they need me. It was a calling. I love it. I wouldn’t change anything about it.”

She has a real connection with each student.

“Relationships. It’s the most important thing. I try to know something about each one of my kids that I can talk to them about personally, school-wise. Just developing the relationships and having that camaraderie with the students, community, family.”

And the key to her success, comes in the way she approaches each day.

“With an open mind and a happy face and just try to encourage them, they can do anything they want to do,” she says. They’re absolutely capable of doing anything they set their minds to.”