"Music is great in itself, but it's also great cause it motivates students to do better in their other classes."
Bridget Maio is a teacher at School 58 in Rochester. She was nominated a year ago for Touchdown for Teachers, an initiative started by the Buffalo Bills and M&T Bank to honor teachers who give back to their community.
A music teacher, but not a singer, Maio wanted to start an a capella group for her students. With the help of the Yellow Jackets from The University of Rochester, Maio's youngsters were able to perform in two concerts at the Eastman Theatre.
"It was a big, huge to do. We even raised money for a student at our school who had cancer at the time."
Maio's commitment to improving education and having a positive impact on her school led a friend and colleague to nominate her for the Touchdown for Teachers program.
"I have been a Bills fan forever since I was born."
As one of five finalists, Maio attended a Buffalo Bills game last December. Before the kickoff, Maio was on the field when it was announced she was the winner of the community recognition program.
"They gave me a big giant check for $1,000 for our school."
She also received a football, and several months later, a visit at School 58 in Rochester from Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson.
"He had to work extra hard to make it into the NFL and now he's the captain of the Bills and so I think he was just sending the message about hard work and you can really achieve your goals."
Fred Jackson says teachers help students achieve their goals and serve as important role models for our young people.
"I think teachers mold our youth, without those guys teaching us and giving us life skills that we need to grow in life, you know, we wouldn't be where we are in the world," Jackson said.
"Anybody that can reach every kind of student that walks in their classroom is one that I think is going to do a tremendous job teaching those guys and helping them grow and succeed in life."
Maio says she is honored to be recognized for her dedication to education, and proud to be a friend and a fan of Fred Jackson and the Bills.
"He really inspired some of our students. They realized that they don't have to go to some big name college in order to do something really productive with their life and his story is really amazing."