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DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. -- If you don't know French, you won't know what Corinne Barnes is saying to her students at Douglas County High School, but the teens understand and, if they don't, they know she'll help them.

"You never leave the room without knowing the full lesson, and she really cares about you and she's basically another mother to me," said Michelle Nyangani, a freshman.

After 40 years of teaching, you'd think Ms. Barnes would slow down, but she insists on teaching a class of ninth graders each year.

"My most favorite thing to do is to be in this classroom," said Ms. Barnes. "I love it. I don't think there's any way you can make a difference, than in the class."

In addition to teaching, Ms. Barnes is in charge of theInternational Baccalaureate program. She also heads ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages), the Foreign Language Department and both the Gifted and Fine Arts programs.

"Whatever we need, we can call her on the cell phone. I ask her all the time, 'Do you sleep?," said Nicole Warren, PTA President.

The secret to all her energy is simple. She swims nearly every day, either at home in the summer or at a fitness center in the winter.

"Even at the lake, I have a wetsuit when it's cold," she said. "I reflect. I can think as I swim."

"I'm just honored to have the opportunity to work with her. Wonderful woman," said Dr. Tim Scott, principal. "She has amazing energy. She keeps us running."

Douglas County High math teacher and former Class Act winner Grant Fossum nominated Ms. Barnes for 11Alive's Class Act Award.

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