MANHATTAN (WABC) -- "The View" celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week by honoring a local teacher with the surprise of a lifetime.
Marlene Debaere is retiring after working in an elementary school in Union, New Jersey, for 40 years.
It was the same elementary school she attended as a student.
Debaere thought she was coming to "The View" as an audience member, but she quickly found herself seated next to the co-hosts at their famous table.
Her current students, second graders, watched and cheered her on. Some of her past students showed up in support as well.
In fact, every member of Tuesday's audience had been invited because their lives were touched by Debaere.
"Next week I'm graduating from law school," shared one former student. "You're an inspiration for why I am doing this, so thank you."
Parents, fellow teachers and family members were also in attendance. But they were not the only ones who were touched by the experience.
"I was thinking about my mom who was a Head Start teacher in Chelsea, so I thought it was a great thing to see a teacher getting some respect," said View co-host Whoopi Goldberg.
Of course, the person most impacted by the emotional day was Debaere herself.
"It was almost surreal, I still need to digest everything," Debaere said.
And to top it all off, "The View" is sending Debaere and her husband on a seven-day cruise in the Mediterranean.
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