WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut) – Anna Capobianco is one of only 45 people to be honored with the Milken Educator Award this school year.

The English teacher at Hall High School in West Hartford was surprised with the award in front of an all-school assembly of 1,400 people Tuesday morning.

“Literally when I came to this assembly, I thought I was simply policing the kids who need to be quiet, so this was a shock,” Capobianco said moments after the announcement.

The 33-year-old UConn alumna has been a teacher for 11 years, the last six at Hall.

The award includes a $25,000 no-strings-attached prize. Capobianco says she still hasn’t decided how to spend the money, but she hopes to “pay it forward.”

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