MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) - The first day of school is right around the corner, and Monday was a day of teacher orientation in the Berkeley County School District.
Nearly 200 new teachers for the Berkeley County School District went through orientation. Of those, approximately 120 are first-time teachers.
"My principal was the one who told me face-to-face that I was offered the job," said Andrea Keesee, a first-time teacher. "In the most unprofessional manner, I gave him the biggest hug."
Keesee says her love for educators began with a teacher of her own.
"It all started with my fourth grade teacher. Just her passion to want to educate kids and her just genuinely caring for us just sparked my interest," said Keesee.
Marcus Gaines, on the other hand, will begin teaching for the first time after two decades of service to his country.
"I felt like I was called to teach, you know? I wanted to serve the community in a way," said Gaines. "What better way to serve the community than teaching young children?"
On Aug. 19, Gaines will start teaching mathematics at Goose Creek High.
"I'm just so thankful for this opportunity. It's come at a time where my life has been in turmoil," Gaines said.
Gaines served 20 years, 1 month and 9 days in the Air Force before falling in love and getting married eight years ago. After deciding to go back to school for education, his life took a heartbreaking turn.
"During my student teaching my wife was diagnosed with cancer, and even when I got the job offer from Principal Huskey she was in the hospital getting the diagnosis," said Gaines. "In June, she passed away."
Gaines carries their wedding photo in his wallet and says he will carry his wife with him on the first day of school.
"She had such a giving heart and a serving heart, such a positive attitude on life and wanting to help others," said Gaines. "That's where I want to be as well."
Gaines, Keesee and more than a hundred others spent Monday learning the ropes of the Berkeley County School District.