My name is Maria. I am 37 years old, and I am from Hazlehurst, Georgia. I grew up with two wonderful parents and two sisters. I was very active as a child and have always enjoyed traveling and being outdoors. My parents always thought I would grow up to be a comedian, but I had other plans in mind. I graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Development. I later obtained my teaching certificate from Brewton Parker University. After college I began my career as a pre-k teacher. I have spent ten wonderful years in the classroom, and teaching is truly my passion. I have two children-- Dylan age 10 and Rylie Brooke age 5. I have been married for 13 years to my high school sweetheart, Shane.
In 2011, on my way to work, I was in a horrific car accident that left me not only paralyzed from the waist down but also riddled with numerous serious injuries. Doctors performed 14 different surgeries to save my life. I spent the following year at Shepherd Center in Atlanta learning how to live my new life. I learned how to drive a modified vehicle, how to maneuver a wheelchair, and how to become independent again. In 2012 I returned to the classroom. I was given the distinguished honor of being named Jeff Davis County Teacher of the Year as well as The Light of Hope recipient. In my free time I enjoy cooking, swimming and going to the beach.
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