NATOMAS, CA - The corporate world had its perks, but they weren't enough to keep Natomas High School teacher, Robynne Rose out of the classroom.
"I was doing a lot of corporate lunches and that was really fun, but I didn't really feel like I was giving back," Rose said.
Rose jumped into the teaching trenches more than 20 years ago, embracing some of the toughest of jobs working with teens. Breaking through the barriers wasn't easy for the soft spoken teacher.
"Teaching is not just standing in front of a class handing out papers, kids have their own troubles and problems and come from families that have their own issues," Rose said.
Rose found solace and inspiration in the story of Erin Gruwell, who's teaching career inspired the movie Freedom Writers.
"Within four years, she turned those kids around and they all went to college, through a variety of strategies of connecting with them and motivating them to do well," Rose explained.
Charlie Fernandez would say his english language development teacher, Rose, has done much the same.
"She changed me a lot," Fernandez explained. "I used to be a bad student. I didn't get A's, but now I do."
Trained as one of the few Freedom Writer teachers in Sacramento, Rose has found a way engage, enlighten and empower students while enhancing their quality of life.
"We all have stories and things to overcome, I try to get them to connect with that story and hopefully set goals for their future stories."
Ana Mosqueda came to the U.S from Mexico. She credits Rose's warm nature and understanding demeanor for keeping her intrigued and motivated .
"She's so nice. I love her assignments and the projects," Mosqueda said.
If you ask Rose's students, her hard work has paid off, but outside of the classroom she'd say it's just beginning.
In 2009, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and fought a courageous battle. Now, she faces an even bigger challenge.
"I had a full body scan done and they found a spot in my hip and it was consistent with the breast cancer so the cancer has metastasize," Rose explained.
Rose has been forced to take a break, but remains connected with the her class. With tears in her eyes she explained what's it's like to be apart from her students.
"It's difficult because I really like teaching and I like the kids so it's been hard."
As Rose works to stay strong, her students rally around her and find inspiration in her courage.
"She comes back with a smile and says 'oh I'm fine,'" Mosqueda said.
Rose believes everyone has a story and as she fights to stay strong, she is determined to make hers one of victory.
"I am just trying to focus on my health, my family and just being present in the moment and enjoying life."