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ST. LOUIS – A former St. Louis high school teacher is continuing to inspire students 40 years after they graduated.

Lorenzo Macon never forgot his history teacher, James Cross, at Northwest High School. As Macon organized a 40-year reunion, he discovered several former classmates had not forgotten about Cross either. About how he inspired them and how they continue to live the values he taught them decades ago.

Macon gathered several former captains from the Northwest Blue Devils pom-pom team—because Cross also coached that team—and they all surprised him with Fox 2’s Pay It Forward Award – a $500 gift card from First Bank.

Cross retired from teaching in 2006 following a stroke. He now resides at Mother of Good Counsel Home in north St. Louis County. When Macon put the word out on Facebook, he heard from several alumni and how fondly they remember Mr. Cross.

Cross said he’s already planning a pom-pom team reunion this year and a Northwest High School reunion next year.

“The ladies you see up here and all the students … they taught me more than I ever teach them that I ever taught them,” he said. “‘The man that loves his job never goes to work’ and I never went to work.”