BUCKHANNON, W.Va. (WBOY) – The students at Hodgesville Elementary School got a small break from class on Sept. 16 to recognize one of their teachers.

12 News spoke with Jessica Grose when she was a top ten finalist for service personnel of the year, but now, the school celebrated her as she was named the 2023 West Virginia Service Personnel of the Year.

Students gathered in the gym for short speeches, and they were given cupcakes and juice boxes to join in on the celebration. The teachers had their own cake to share with Grose, so they made sure the students would be included. The students cheered loudly for the teacher they all know as Mrs. Jess.

“It’s hard to explain, it’s really hard to explain what this means to me, because I just go out and do my job every single day and love on kids, and do what I feel my heart tells me to do, and this makes me feel so honored, that these little kids, and my coworkers, and the state of West Virginia, sees that I’m such a special person,” said Jessica Grose, 2023 West Virginia Service Personnel of the Year, Hodgesville Elementary School.

Grose was surprised by her husband and daughter’s attendance, as they told her they would not be able to make the celebration.

County officials were in attendance for Grose’s celebration assembly, including Interim Superintendent of Upshur County Schools Debra Harrison.

“She’s one of those people you walk in the room, and you spot her immediately, the smile and the interaction with kids, and the children coming up to her and hugging her and loving her. It’s obvious that she loves them, or else they would not be loving her back in that way,” said Harrison.

Grose said she wants to become a certified teacher and have her own classroom one day.