While often underpaid and (in many cases) under-appreciated, teachers are still some of the most dedicated professionals in the world. And the story of one former special-needs teacher proves just how much some educators care.

Genevieve Via Cava of Dumont, New Jersey, worked as a special-education teacher for 45 years. According to CNN, even after her retirement in the ’90s, she continued to visit her former school district and former students, sometimes even popping in to classes. She passed away in 2011, but in April of this year, Dumont Public Schools was shocked to receive a check for $1 million from the late teacher’s estate.

It turns out that through a lifetime of frugal spending habits, Via Cava had saved up a small fortune. The former teacher had no children, so she left most of her belongings to a friend — and the rest went to the school district she loved so much.

Triggiano told that Via Cava’s money will create a scholarship fund to help special-needs students seek post-secondary education. One student will receive a yearly award of up to $25,000.

Via Cava’s devotion to her students and her community literally warms our hearts, and thanks to her gift, her inspirational legacy will live on for years to come.