DES MOINES, Iowa – Des Moines Public Schools took some time this weekend to honor a legend.

The auditorium at Des Moines East High School was renamed in honor of former drama and theater arts teacher Ruth Ann Gaines. The dedication ceremony took place Sunday.

Gaines taught at East High for 40 years and was named Iowa Teacher of the Year in 1998.

At the ceremony, Gaines delivered a speech about her perseverance to get where she is today.

“I call life a bittersweet experience. But we keep moving on. And we keep trying. And we keep climbing,” said Gaines. “I never quit. And as I look out from the landing I’m standing on today and I see this picture of you. I know I made it. I made it. I climbed to the top and here I am today.”

Gaines currently serves as the representative of North and East Des Moines in the Iowa House of Representatives.