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NBC12 awards teacher Michelle Hughey for Excellence in Education

Michelle with award

Teacher Michelle Hughey has changed hundreds of lives at our Sarah Dooley Center for Autism over the past 13 years. For her unrelenting dedication and compassion, NBC12 surprised her with their Excellence in Education Award.

Michelle gives her all to every student and makes the most of every teachable moment. She works with some of our largest, most severely impacted students. Last year, one of her students was unable to speak or even walk into a room with people. At his graduation ceremony, he walked through the Villa chapel filled with people and applause – with Michelle at his side. His parents described this as the happiest day of their lives, noting they didn’t invite anyone because they never expected him to even walk in the room.

“Michelle has a calmness about her, almost like a peacefulness that is almost contagious,” said Adam Dreyfus, senior director of the Sarah Dooley Center for Autism. “These kids are sensitive to anxiety and people getting upset, and she just keeps an ocean of calm around her that is infectious.”

The award was presented by Anthony Antoine and representatives from Henrico Federal Credit Union.