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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The ability to teach takes a special kind of person. Ask anyone at the Longfellow Elementary School in Portland who does it best, and they'll probably say Janice Parker.

Parker has been volunteering at the school since she retired 4 years ago. Prior to that she worked as a elementary school teacher for 41 years. It took her less than a week of after the first day of school during her retirement to decide that she needed to go back.

"I did other things," said Parker. "I went out to audubon, I walked, I read, but I just missed the kids."

In 2013 she volunteered more than 1,200 hours. To recognize Parker for her work, the American Red Cross of Maine awarded her with a 2014 Real Heroes Award. Recognition that Principal of Longfellow Elementary School, Dawn Carrigan, couldn't be prouder of.

"She's magical in the way that she connects with children and really helps them accomplish things that are amazing," said Carrigan.

Parker wore her medal with pride the day she won it, but she says it takes second place to the reward of seeing a child succeed.

"When you see a kiddo feeling successful, then you feel successful," said Parker.

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