DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — In one of the classrooms at Hillside High School, you can find Durham Public Schools’ newest Teacher of the Year.

“I wanted to remind myself ‘be in the moment because you get this one time,’” said Jahara Davis, the award recipient.

Davis started her career as a substitute teacher. Now, she’s instructing English 2.

“Every teacher who truly pours themselves into it deserves this opportunity, deserves to know what this feels like,” she said.

Davis has been a teacher for eight years and she’s had to overcome a lot to get to this point in her career. From having 10 surgeries to going through a divorce to losing students — that’s not all she’s faced.

“To be coming out of it from losing my home on my son’s birthday last year due to a flood of no fault of our own and losing everything, and I still came to work on Monday,” Davis said.

Jahara Davis at Hillside High School in Durham. CBS 17 photo

She was also recently in a car accident that sent her to the hospital.

Still, some people always remember that one teacher who helped shape their lives. Students like Allan Reade said that’ll be the case with Davis.

“I was saying ‘speak it into existence,’” the sophomore said. “ ’Don’t think about it too much. You’re going to get it.’ And she got it.”

Others think of Davis as a mother figure or a big sister.

“Professor Davis has a way of bringing out true personalities and making everyone comfortable,” said Hillside junior Alajah Rogers.

The Teacher of the Year even took her students to see the movie Black Panther.

“In a couple years in college, I can be like ‘my teacher really encouraged me to follow my dreams,’” said Hillside junior Nyauni Brown.

For Davis, the sky is the limit. She’s starting grad school at North Carolina Central University to become a principal.

“They need someone to show up for them,” Davis said. “Because in a world that we live in, very rare do people show up for people of color.”

Eventually, Davis wants to own a recreational center called Underwater Umbrella to give back to students who lack resources.

“Hillside deserves this award… period,” she said. “We’ve earned it and we’re going to enjoy it.”

Her ultimate goal is to start a school called Village University.

Davis previously taught at West Charlotte High School in Charlotte and has experience instructing African American Literature and Film. She’s also taught students from 7th to 12th grade.