An unexpected gift of gratitude from an unlikely person is gaining attention after a Mesquite teen wrote a special letter to a teacher, thanking her for her passion and dedication to math.
The hand behind the letter belongs to an unassuming sophomore named Shayla Godbey, who's as stunned about the attention as her teacher was reading her touching words.
"It's not often people take the time to say thank you," said algebra teacher Jennifer Davis.
A sheet of folded notebook paper appeared in Davis' mailbox. In neatly-written print, it read, "I walk into your class every other day willing to learn and do my work. Not because I enjoy school or math, I do it because you deserve it."
The letter came from 16-year-old Shayla Godbey. The quiet West Mesquite sophomore sits at the back of Davis' algebra I class, doesn't raise her hand much and mostly gets B's.
Before Thanksgiving break, Godbey's history teacher suggested students write a letter to their favorite teacher.
"She was the first one to come to mind," said Godbey.
Godbey's choice is surprising, because she hates math and flunked the same class last year.
"She teaches in a way that I understand, so it makes me willing to learn," said Godbey.
Davis teaches six classes of algebra I every day, which adds up to 150 students who learn their X's and Y's and who rarely say thank you.
"She sees the work that I put in and knows I'm not doing that to get a paycheck," said Davis.
As Godbey's words spread through the halls and teacher's lounge, the reaction was bewilderment.
"Many people have said, 'When I was that age, I had teachers that I felt that way about, but I never had the wherewithall to actually tell them and put it on paper,'" said Davis. "It's a pretty special student who would do that."
Godbey's gift of thanks has gone unnoticed by teachers before, so when Davis pulled her out of class last week, she was surprised.
"I was shocked," said Godbey. "I was nervous because I thought it was about a test, and then she said, 'The letter you wrote,' and then I was like, 'She got it', and it made me feel better that she [sic] acknowledging the fact I had written her the letter.
And she will keep writing, where she believes gratitude should be given.
"I think if more students were open-minded and appreciated their teachers, I think the teachers would be more willing to show how much they care," said Godbey.
Friday marks the last day of class for the semester in Mesquite ISD, so maybe a few other students will be inspired to tell their teachers thank you.