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CHICAGO – Normally, Mary Beth Bell’s classroom would be filled with Curie High School students and about 25 little ones, ages 3 to 5.

Now, the work is virtual due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t stop Bell from making a difference.

Mary Beth Bell is WGN’s Teacher of the Month.

She’s an instructor at Curie High School’s career and technical education teaching academy. Her students are earning college credits teaching preschoolers.

“They build these unbreakable bonds they get to have with these young children and it’s just wonderful,” Bell said.

Student Kayla Lopez nominated Bell for Teacher of the Month.

“I’ve learned so much from her. She’s such a hard-working person,” Lopez said.

Most of her students have been in the program for multiple years, but this year really tested them.

“It’s very difficult honestly. My students have lost parents and grandparents. My students have had COVID, so it’s not easy for anyone, but their spirit really helps me being able to connect with them,” Bell said.

Bell received $1,000 for winning Teacher of the Month from attorney Ken Allen. She credited her mentor for getting her on this career path.

“she told me that I would make a difference. She told me that I would inspire other people. She told me I could change the world,” she said.

And now, that’s what Bell tells her students.