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Hurlburt CDC teacher inspires children for 29+ years

Nora Torres, preschool teacher, sits with her class during an outside activity at the main child development center on Hurlburt Field, Fla., June 25, 2014. Torres has worked at the CDC since 1985. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sarah Hanson)

Nora Torres, preschool teacher, sits with her class during an outside activity at the main child development center on Hurlburt Field, Fla., June 25, 2014. Torres has worked at the CDC since 1985. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sarah Hanson)

Children wash dolls during a class at the main child development center on Hurlburt Field, Fla., June 25, 2014. The children went through different learning stations, this one taught hygiene. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sarah Hanson)

Children wash dolls during a class at the main child development center on Hurlburt Field, Fla., June 25, 2014. The children went through different learning stations, this one taught hygiene. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sarah Hanson)

Nora Torres, preschool teacher, teaches children about taking care of babies during a class at the main child development center on Hurlburt Field, Fla., June 25, 2014. Torres has three children of her own and said she loves teaching. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sarah Hanson)

Nora Torres, preschool teacher, teaches children about taking care of babies during a class at the main child development center on Hurlburt Field, Fla., June 25, 2014. Torres has three children of her own and said she loves teaching. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sarah Hanson)

Sarah Stott and Nora Torres pose for a photo more than 20 years ago at the child development center on Hurlburt Field, Fla. Stott said Torres inspired her to work with children. (Courtesy photo)

Sarah Stott and Nora Torres pose for a photo more than 20 years ago at the child development center on Hurlburt Field, Fla. Stott said Torres inspired her to work with children. (Courtesy photo)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- It can be difficult for Airmen to focus on the mission when they worry about their children. However, one very special preschool teacher can give parents peace of mind.

Nora Torres has been caring for and educating children since 1985 at the main child development center on Hurlburt Field, Fla.

"If a child falls down or is sad and mommy is fixing a plane or daddy is deployed, then I want to be there for that child," Torres said passionately. "I want to find ways to ease that pain, whether it is drawing pictures or talking about it with them... it is very important to me."

Torres said she tries to make learning fun. During a class observation, the children matched numbers with bean bags, built structures with plastic cups, and wrote their names with water on the ground outside.

"Teachers have to be actors and actresses to get the kids excited about learning," she said. "This is going to set the pace for future learning, so we have to light a fire."

One parent said she is a huge fan of Torres' teaching methods.

"Nora is great, she adapts to each child's learning style," said Jamie Collins. "I don't have to worry about [my son] being behind when he goes to kindergarten.

"It is really critical for kids to have good caregivers and educators," she continued. "They're with the caregivers almost more than their parents."

Sarah Stott said she remembers "learning through play" even though it's been almost 20 years since Torres was her teacher.

"I remember the different learning stations in Ms. Nora's class," she said. "She is very passionate, and she loves every single child who comes through her class."

Stott said the values and lessons Torres instilled in her have stuck with her throughout her life. She said Torres motivated her to work with children. And, she is currently looking for a job where she can inspire children just like Torres inspired her.

Torres said she bumped into Stott a few times throughout the years.

"The minute I saw her, I recognized her little face," she said. "It made me cry because she said I was her inspiration."

Torres said she isn't sure when she will retire, but she knows what she wants to do next.

"I want to go to Congress and advocate for children," she said. "Education is an investment because the children of today are going to be the ones taking care of us. I want them to have all the tools they need to be successful in life."