We all know that teachers are truly some of the most important people in our children's lives. And it's a profession that can be seemingly thankless at times.

That's why when the Lafayette Education Foundation (LEF) gives out their awards each year, it truly warms my heart.

After hundreds of  nominations, it came down to the 16 finalists last night at the 19th annual LEF Awards presentation at the Heymann Performing Arts Center here in Lafayette.

All of the finalists received the Hollywood red carpet treatment. As well they should and most definitely deserve.

On behalf of everyone here at 97.3 The Dawg, we'd like to congratulate all of our fine educators and salute the finalists and winners from last night's amazing evening.

Elementary School Category: Lisa Richards Fleming - Katharine Drexel Elementary

Middle School CategoryJanet Babineaux - Lafayette Christian Academy

High School CategoryRoxanne LeBlanc - Lafayette Parish School System's Homebound Program

Inspirational CategoryShari B. Holleman - Lafayette High

In case you were wondering, the nominees were picked from outstanding K-12 educators in Lafayette Parish public, private and parochial schools. Educators were nominated by the students, parents, fellow educators and members of the Lafayette community.