'The View' honors retiring NJ teacher with surprise of a lifetime for Teacher Appreciation Week

One New Jersey teacher got the surprise of a lifetime ahead of her retirement

Sandy Kenyon Image
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
'The View' honors retiring teacher with surprise of a lifetime
"The View" honored Marlene Debaere, a retiring elementary school teacher from Union, NJ, for Teacher Appreciation Week. Sandy Kenyon has the story.

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.

ALSO READ | 11-year-old ballerina hosts bake sale after NYC doorman's bike stolen

She is light on her feet - but with a big heart is how Dylan Leder dances through life. Lucy Yang has the story.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.