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Gastonia teacher, who goes above and beyond, recognized as Hyundai Hometown Hero

A Gastonia teacher was named the latest Hyundai Hometown Hero for going above and beyond for his students in the classroom.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — WCNC Charlotte has teamed up with local Charlotte-area Hyundai dealers to give away a brand-new car to a deserving person in the community.

The latest Hometown Hero is a Gastonia history teacher who goes above and beyond to make an impact in the classroom. He creates videos, parodies, and skits to make learning fun in a very unique way.

Sean Gettys is the history teacher at Webb Street School in Gastonia, a public school serving students with cognitive impairments in Gaston County.

Principal Chris Mills said you’ll often see Gettys class alongside him reenacting a time in history. The reenactments help to reinforce what they’ve learned from their textbooks.

“And it’s amazing because you’ll see them going down the hall singing those songs,” Mills said.

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Gettys’ colleague, Shannon Russell, nominated him to be a Hometown Hero.

She said it’s amazing the way he uses his video, props and skits to bring his lessons to life.

Watch Gettys and his class in action here.

Credit: WCNC

“You walk down the hall and look in his room he may be in a full costume," Russell said. "His kids have on hats and they're going over the Titanic and Spartacus."

RELATED: 'You embody everything that anybody wishes they could be' | Sheriff's deputy recognized as Hyundai Hometown Hero for community service

Gettys’ hard work has not gone unnoticed in his community. Thanks to his commitment to his students he also previously earned the 2022 teacher of the year award.

Russell said he deserves so much more.  She credits Gettys with purchasing props for the videos in addition to lunches and supplies for his students.

She kept her fingers crossed for him to win a new car and she got her wish.

Credit: WCNC

Gettys' big surprise

Gettys thought he was attending an end-of-year cookout. Instead, he was surprised with a set of brand new keys.

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“On behalf of Hyundai area dealers we would like to present you with a new Hyundai Sante Fe,” Hyundai’s Thomas Pass said to Gettys.

His wife wiped tears away as she witnessed her husband’s hard work being recognized.

“The videos are so much fun. The kids enjoy making them,” Gettys said. “The last one I did is probably my favorite: the Titanic parody video and the California video." 

Credit: WCNC

RELATED: Dedicated SPCA volunteer surprised with a new Hyundai Santa Fe

"If I had a teacher like him in high school, I would have aced history,” Russell said.

Over the years our honorees have included veterans, law enforcement, volunteers, and teachers. See the list of previous Hyundai Hometown Heroes.

Contact Ruby Durham at rdurham@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 


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