Samantha Hartfield called it a “leap of faith” when she moved from her hometown of Beaumont, Miss., to Champaign to start her career as a deaf educator at Carle Auditory Oral School for the start of the 2019-20 school year.

The University of Southern Mississippi graduate, though, has found a home and a purpose in Champaign-Urbana, where she said she considers herself lucky to not only be a teacher, but “a friend, a role model, a dance partner, and so much more to the children I teach and have taught.”

“It has been amazing,” she said.

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