RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) — If you grew up in Rantoul, there’s a very good chance Margurette Carter was your teacher.

“You have to be able to share a part of you in order to connect to students,” said Carter.

She connected to thousands of them over 34 years at Eater Junior High. She was also the volleyball coach there and at the high school.

“I try to help them see beyond the classroom and the books. I try to help them look to their future and set goals and see what the possibilities are.”

But after retirement, Carter couldn’t stay away from the kids. Eight years ago, she told assistant director Andy Graham she wanted to start an afterschool program at the Youth Center.

Carter remembered, “I called it academic hour because rather than homework because I wanted the kids to understand every day there’s something that they can do.”

April Barnett’s son William is just one of the kids who show up four days a week.

“I grew up with her teaching me so it’s a blessing for her to be able to teach my kids too because they love her,” Barnett said.

But Carter wanted to do more for parents. The We Prep 4 Success program was born.

“One day a week they can come have supper, work with our kid and also gives them some family time.”

Graham said, “You can’t put a value on what she does for this community.”

Carter believes it’s the volunteers she’s recruited who should get all the credit. But anyone in Rantoul will tell you, it’s how Margurette Carter treats children that is the key to her success.

“I know in my bones that kids want structure. They want discipline. They want expectations. They want to know that you care about them as an individual. And they know that you will listen. That’s what keeps me coming back every year.”