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Four Sisters Who Love To Teach

What are the odds? Four sisters, who all teach at the same Los Angeles area grammar school.

It wasn't planned. They were hired at different times -- each on their own merit.

For the latest in the Study Hall series, The Early Show's co-anchor Julie Chen headed to Canterbury Avenue Elementary in California and met the Mendoza sisters.

When someone calls out, "Miss Mendoza," the four sisters laugh, "We all turn around."

The Mendozas are an American success story. But their path to the classroom was anything but typical.

"I was scared to death," says Norma Mendoza, who teaches first grade. "I said, 'Oh no. I can't do that. I can't be in the classroom with 30 children.'"

Norma is now comfortably settled in with her students. Rosa teaches fourth grade, Dora teaches third and Coco teaches kindergarten.

"My parents always instilled in us that we have to go to school, that school is pretty much the key to success, and the key to making it in life," says Norma.

The Mendoza's parents are Mexican immigrants with a third grade education. They came to the United States with just one goal -- to make a better life for their children. Now, the Mendoza sisters are making life better for an entire school full of children.

"You're a huge impact on these kid's lives," Rosa describes teaching.

Norma says, "I love what I do. I've been doing it for eleven years. And, it seems like I just started."

The journey to the classroom was especially difficult for Coco Mendoza, who struggled with dyslexia.

It took me a really long time to finish college because of that," says Coco. "But, I wanted to become a teacher. And no matter what, I was going to become a teacher."

Coco Mendoza says she and her sisters are encouraging their community to pursue an education.

"Being that this is a community with a large amount of Latinos, and we're Latinas, I give up my lunchtime hour to do a mother-daughter program," explains Coco. "It's encouraging girls to go to college."

The sisters have sparked an excitement for learning in their students. But, they are almost as excited to have a "Miss. Mendoza" for a teacher.

"I got excited, went home and I started jumping," says 9-year-old Dalia when hearing about her new teacher.

"She's a great teacher. I want to be just like her," says 8-year-old Laura about Dora Mendoza.

The Mendozas may not teach the same classes, but the sisters say they do almost everything together – from shopping to eating to gossiping.

And, the sisters admit to buying the same clothes.

"They wear them sometimes at the same time," says Norma Mendoza.

Add it all up and you get one simple fact, you can never have enough Mendozas.

"[The children] always come in and say 'Gosh, we wish there was another Mendoza in second grade. Or, 'We wish there was another Mendoza in fifth grade,'" says Norma Mendoza. "The children really fulfill you in a special way. And, I think no other job out there does."

The Mendoza sisters have three other successful siblings. One of their brothers is hoping to be teaching physical education in a Los Angeles-area high school very soon.

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