SPOTSYLVANIA COURTHOUSE, Va. -- Kathy Moore is a no-nonsense information technology teacher and passionate Washington Capitals fan who is rarely at a loss for words.
That changed when the Stanley Cup made a surprise appearance at her Thornburg Middle School classroom here Tuesday.
"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my goodness," Moore said as Mike Bolt, one of the keepers of the Cup from the Hockey Hall of Fame, carried the trophy into her classroom to the applause of her students. "I don't know what to say. I'm shaking, I can't breathe. This is amazing."
Moore's excitement continued when she was given an autographed Alex Ovechkin jersey, which she vowed to wear to Capital One Arena on Wednesday for the Capitals game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m ET; NBCSN).
The visit was a thank-you to Moore from the NHL, the NHL Players' Association and the Capitals for embracing the NHL & NHLPA Future Goals Program and Hockey Scholar, the free digital course that uses hockey to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts.
Moore, a Capitals season ticket holder, has used software developed by the education technology firm EVERFI with her students for the past five years.
Powered by a $20 million investment by the NHL and the NHLPA, Future Goals has reached more than 2.2 million students across North America since 2014, including 90,825 students across Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Moore, who has been one of its leading advocates in the region, talked about Future Goals and EVERFI on Capitol Hill in February as part of Hockey Day on the Hill.
She said speaking about the program and interacting with members of Congress was one of the best hockey days of her life. Until Tuesday.
"First, them asking me to do the committee meeting, that was really cool being a part of that, I thought that was the pinnacle," Moore said. "This, today, is absolutely amazing."
Moore's classroom, filled with computers and screens, is a Capitals shrine. A life-size cutout of goalie Braden Holtby adorns much of the back wall of the room. "Let's Go Caps" is written in large letters on the ceiling above her desk.
"Being a fan and using EVERFI and having the Cup in here is amazing to her," said Traci Fletcher, a seventh-grade science teacher who shares the season tickets with Moore. "She is so excited to be part of history in this case."
Thornburg students, who managed to keep the surprise a secret, were treated to a visit from Capitals mascot Slapshot, who bounded about Moore's classroom, the cafeteria and gymnasium, high-fiving everyone in sight.
The Capitals street team also held a street hockey clinic for students in the gym, where Moore had a front-row seat. The school received a full set of street hockey equipment through the Caps in School program.
"It's been pretty cool," said 13-year-old Sean Pierror, who is in the eighth grade at Thornburg. "It's so nice to see her so happy. It looked like she was going cry in a good way, and I've never really seen a teacher like that before. It's really weird, but it's really nice."