One of the best days on this journey was September 15, 2011 when I had the opportunity to pass on the Teacher of the Year torch to my childhood friend, Alana Margeson.

Jennifer Pooler (right) and I enjoyed our roadtrip to Caribou to present the award to Alana!

For those of you who don't know the story, I grew up in Caribou, Maine and moved to Waterville on my 12th birthday. Alana was one of my closest childhood friends during my years in Caribou. Over the years, we drifted apart and lost contact.

I had not seen Alana in 23 years until the Teacher of the Year Hall of Flags ceremony in March. When I noticed a nominee from Caribou, I was excited that my hometown was represented, but not thinking for minute that I would actually know the teacher. When I saw Alana, I connected that she was the same Alana Harrington I knew from Caribou Middle School!

It was an honor to return "home" to present her with the 2012 Teacher of the Year award. She will be an passionate and inspiring representative of our state. I am excited to watch her journey unfold during the next year and grateful that our paths have crossed again.

The crowd in the auditorium erupted when Alana's name was announced! In the front row is Alana's mom from Poland who secretly flew to Caribou for the surprise assembly!