BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The Ravens flocked to a Baltimore City elementary school Thursday afternoon for a special visit to honor a hardworking teacher for his efforts in the classroom.

The annual award is given out to one teacher every year. This time, a city teacher who some say serves as a “father figure” to many was recognized.

The excitement nearly blew the roof off the gym. Tiny Ravens’ fans at Hazelwood Elementary and Middle School got a surprise visit from cheerleaders, mascot Poe and even Joe Flacco.

They all flocked to school to present the Touchdown for Teachers Award to third-year teacher, Mr. Antonio Mason.

“I guess I never saw myself as this phenomenal person, I just come in to do my absolute best and give my 150 percent to my students, because they really matter,” Mason says.

Mason says he pays special attention to issues kids may deal with outside the classroom.

Flacco stuck around to answer questions from curious students and even play some pickup football in the school yard.

The message to kids: what happens inside the classroom is just as important as what happens on the field.

“The first teachers who pop into my head are my elementary school teachers. So when I think of my kids, and how important the next few years are going to be, you definitely want teachers that care and are going to be there for my kids,” Flacco says.

Teachers like Mason are making a difference.

“Mr. Mason does everything from teach third grade to do sports with you guys after school,” says principal Amanda Rice.

A hometown surprise none of them will soon forget.

“No one comes into teaching thinking that you’re going to get an award,” Mason says.

Mr. Mason was one of about 500 teachers nominated for the award.  The school also received a $2,000 grant from M&T Bank.

This is the fourth year for the Touchdown for Teachers Program.

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