BURLINGTON, N.C. — Loved by her students and fellow staff at Burlington Christian Academy, fifth grade teacher Caroline Camons is saying goodbye.
Camons will be going back to her home in Cape Town, South Africa, after a delay in the processing of her visa is forcing her to leave the U.S.
“It’s hard,” Camons said. “I love my babies. These are my kids.”
She and her family are being forced to go back home next week.
“I don’t like it,” she said. “I don’t like to have to uproot my whole family and leave.”
Camons came to the U.S. in 2008 on a six-year visa. She applied to stay for another year but a delay in paperwork changed that.
Now, she has to leave before the end of February when her visa expires.
It’s news that has left a hole in the hearts of students like Luke Anderson.
“I’ve been with her for so long, and now she has to leave,” said the fifth grader. “I just really don’t want her to go. She’s just a really good teacher.”
Luke’s mom and other parents raised money to try to pay for Camon to stay in the U.S. longer. Now that’s she’s leaving, they’re using the money to help her with the move.
Camons may have to spend anywhere from a few months to a year back home. But she says as soon as she can apply for another visa, she plans on coming back to U.S. and, hopefully, coming back to the school.
“She’s an excellent teacher,” said Crystal Johnson, Luke’s mother. “Not only does she push the kids academically. She really cares about them.”
It’s the kind of care that Camons plans on showing even after she’s gone. She’s already left one last assignment for whichever teacher takes her spot.
“Please love them for me,” Camons said. “Just love them for me.”