SCHUYLER --  Seventeen first graders and one lucky teacher were given an A+ surprise at Schuyler Elementary, Wednesday afternoon.

Jose Rocha, the owner of J Rocha Designs, organized a $4,000 classroom makeover for one teacher.

"I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a lady who does this who goes to different schools and gives them a classroom makeover, and I wanted to do it here in Schuyler," Rocha said. 

He raised the fund thanks to donations from Pinnacle Bank, Homestead Bank, Bank of the Valley, and Cargill Schuyler. Within a couple of weeks of accepting 78 nominations from Schuyler, and choosing a winner among them, they awarded Brante Hayes with the funds to bring new wall decor, shelves, desks, chairs, storage units, and more. 

Hayes was chosen after having been nominated by multiple people

"And also because of all that he's been through, he really deserves this," Rocha said. 

The Schuyler Chamber of Commerce notes it's important to have special events like this to boost teacher morale in this age.

"Teachers have been through a lot these past few years, and our community is super diverse so I think it's even more challenging, and so it's something I'm proud of," said Audra Jedlicka, executive director for Schuyler Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Rocha hopes to make this award an annual event

Hayes, who has taught at the school for seven years, said he's feeling "Gracious, it makes me love this place even more," Hayes said.