Ms. Judy Vellegas even saved Williams' old schoolwork

Break out the tissues!

In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Month, Venus Williams paid a visit to her elementary school in Lynwood, California.

The 36-year-old, who lived in California until sixth grade before moving to Florida, surprised her first grade teacher at Mark Twain Elementary, Ms. Judy Vellegas.

Vellegas, who has been teaching at the school for 34 years, had Williams in her 1986/1987 class.

Credit: Courtesy of CA Lottery

“It all started right here, Mark Twain,” says Williams as she approaches the school. “It looks so much smaller!”

And when she opens the door to the classroom, Vellegas gasps. “Oh my gosh!” she says. “Boys and girls, this is Venus Williams.”

“Hello!” reply her students. “We’ve heard all about you, we’ve seen your picture in the paper.”

Vellegas even saved Williams’ old schoolwork.

“I just felt like ‘I’ve got to save this because I want to see where this kid goes’ and you’ve gone so far, be proud of yourself,” she tells the tennis superstar.

Then Williams gifts her teacher with one of her precious rackets.

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“You are a star,” she tells Vellegas. “Thank you for all you have done to help me rise.”