THOMASTON, Ga. - Mrs. Martha Bentley instills the same values in her students today as she did 73 years ago.
Her experience at the front of the classroom spans more than seven decades, reaching back to a time when schools were still segregated in Georgia.
"It was hard to get [my students] to see that they could be anything they wanted to be," Bentley said. "You can have inspirations and you can strive. It's up to you, [you just] have to have that 'go get it' attitude."
Her devotion explains why so many people crammed into the AJ Mini School in Thomaston on March 9, when the mayor and city council declared as a day in her honor.
The 93-year-old teacher has touched literally thousands of students' lives, including three generations of the Alexander family, who are appreciative of her for launching them forward with above all, a newfound level of discipline.
"She's been in the community so long, everybody knows Mrs. Bentley, she did a lot for the community, and I think [the honor is] well deserved," said Casey Alexander with his daughter Casley on his lap and mother Faith sitting next to him.
"It's overdue and well deserved," Faith Alexander added.
Bentley is who droves of former students, now doctors, athletes and managers, credit for their success.
And when you've taught for more than seven decades, there's a lot of 'thank yous' to go around.
It was an outpouring of love that left the woman who always has the right answer suddenly speechless.
"It's awesome, that's all I can say," she said.
Mrs. Martha Bentley has taught all ages, ranging from pre-school through high school.
And there are no signs of Mrs. Bentley slowing down anytime soon.
"Seven decades," William D. Hughley exclaimed. "That's unheard of! She's still going. It's like the energizer bunny, she will not stop until the last day."