ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Every Friday, Melissa Ward, a kindergarten teacher at Turning Point Christian Academy in St. Augustine, plays "The River" to her students.
This Friday, May 1, however, students experienced a different rendition of the country song -- a live version performed by country star Garth Brooks.
Brooks joined Ward's Zoom meeting with parents and students. At first, no one seemed to notice Brooks in the meeting, perhaps because of the many people in attendance. But, the moment she called on "Mr. Brooks," faces lit up in smiles as he proceeded to play his song.
"Still in shock," Ward wrote on her Facebook page. "... This turned out to be an amazing experience. And I didn't pass out!"
Ward told First Coast News that she is an avid watcher of "Inside Studio G," a live video hosted by Brooks on his social media platforms.
"I watch it every single Monday night," she said.
Ward said she submitted a video to Brooks with #askgarth, hoping he'd notice for his show.
"All I was wanting was them to pick my video for his Facebook," she said.
Brooks not only noticed, but he connected with Ward and helped plan to surprise her students.
"Didn't dream this would happen," she said.
You can watch Brooks' performance of "The River" starting around four minutes.