OKLAHOMA CITY - For the first time, hundreds of teachers from around the metro gathered to encourage each other ahead of the school year. 

Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Midwest City hosted the inaugural ‘RedeemED Conference’ this week.

School financial secretary Chanelle Cotton recited to the crowd, “Heart stay open, receptive to the direction of God’s perception of what he’s speaking to the young generation of his habitation…”

The conference aims to bolster confidence and positivity before attendees meet their students.

“Every day you walk in that class is an opportunity to impact kids, and what those teachers are doing in those classrooms day in and day out, you cannot put a price tag on,” said organizer Dr. Susan DeMoss, who works as an associate headmaster at Christian Heritage Academy.

Cotton knows from experience how important that is.

“I just didn’t have the perfect childhood,” Cotton admitted. “I had a lot of bondage, abuse and all of that, and I didn’t really have people to speak into me, so God put it on my heart to have a heart for the young generation because those are the ones who come after us.”

‘Heart for the Young Generation’ is the title of the poem the financial secretary performs for teachers and students alike, especially now during the growing pains of her transition to the new FD Moon Middle School.

“At the end of the day, change takes process,” she said, “so this is a process for the path to greatness.”

Throughout the process, the educators who attended the conference will be part of the new Aaron Project at local churches, which assigns them to members who will pray for them throughout the year.

Cotton said, “The teachers need to know that they have a prayer partner. They need to know that they’re not in it alone.”

Even when times get tough.

DeMoss added, “On those days when the kids may be a little cantankerous, and you’re like ‘why am I doing this?’ They don’t want to do their homework, remembering that people do appreciate what you’re doing is vitally important to us.”