By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A music teacher at a Southwest Philadelphia middle school has won a national award that means more than the $10,000 that goes with it.

“All right, sit down.”

Alandra Abrams of Tilden Middle School is one of two national winners of Futures Without Violence’s Respect! Challenge. Her entry was the story of a teen coming of age in North Philly, guided to a better future by her middle school music teacher.

“I never forgot what she did for me and, as a result, I’m a music teacher and I always say to myself, if this woman can do this for me, then who am I not to do it for somebody else? You know, sometimes we look back in our struggles of teaching and say, why am I doing this? And then we say, because somebody did it for you, that’s why.”

Abrams says she expects to put the award money to work sprucing up the well-used keyboards and other instruments in her department as she plays if forward.

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