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Former students surprise longtime educator

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A longtime educator is retiring in Pike County. Her husband and former students pulled off a huge surprise celebration on Saturday.

While, Betsy Thompson, was conducting her final spring concert as Pike Central High School's chorus teacher, former students were preparing a special surprise for a woman they say greatly influenced their lives. Former student Eric Blankenship says the turnout shows just how special Thompson is to each of them, "We ended up having classes from 1980 to 2011 show up."

As the current Pike Central chorus concluded their concert, to the surprise of Thompson, familiar faces began filing into the room, and took the stage for one last performance lead by their beloved teacher.

Mrs. Thompson has spent 33 years in Pike County Schools, teaching the middle school students at Johns Creek and high school students at Pike Central.

Thompson says she strongly believes in the power of music and the inspiration that can be found within a song. Thompson explains, "Music has that ability to touch people." She goes on to explain how she remembers each student and particular pieces they performed, "Those pieces have influenced each of these children and through that I remember who they are."

Through not only music but who she is as a person, both Thompson and her husband, have influenced generations of students in Pike County. Blankenship says, "She has had 33 years of making a difference. I am a teacher now and that is 100% due to, Betsy and Tommy Thompson, they inspired me."

While having children of her own, Thompson says each and every one of her students through the years have also become her children.

Former students also presented Mrs. Thompson with a very special gift, a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in her name. The Thompson's son, Heath, died from the disease.

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