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Melissa Hipolit surprises dedicated RPS worker, cancer survivor at school pep rally

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Posted at 11:38 AM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 15:52:18-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- "She is our elf," is how Elkhardt-Thompson Middle School principal Jacquelyn Murphy described office assistant Cherrie Smith.

Smith grew up in Whitcomb Court and has worked at the Richmond school for 11 years.

She is a cheerleading coach and "our students and staff's biggest cheerleader," Murphy said.

"She revamped our file room. She reorganized and set up systems that were not in place, she steps in wherever we may need her," Murphy added.

Smith is also a mother of three and a breast cancer survivor.

CBS 6's Melissa Hipolit and principal Murphy worked together to surprise Smith for the CBS 6 Month of Giving.

On Tuesday, Murphy organized a pep rally at the school and told Smith she was needed to dance at the beginning of the pep rally to get kids excited.

When she started dancing, Hipolit walked out onto the gym floor and told her that she was there to surprise her for the Month of Giving.

Hipolit thanked her for her work helping Richmond students and then gave her a gift card to her favorite store: Old Navy, and a gift card to Tazza Kitchen.

Ms. Smith was in shock and couldn't speak before saying "thank you" and hugging Hipolit.

Her children then came into the gym, and she started crying tears of joy.

The CBS 6 Month of Giving is made possible with help from our friends at Loyalty Automotive. Look for new Month of Giving segments each day on CBS 6 News.