WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Monday honored two National Teachers of the Year, celebrating the awardees for 2020 and 2021.

Juliana Urtubey and Tabatha Rosproy received the title during a ceremony outside the White House attended by dozens of educators. Rosproy, of Kansas, is the first preschool educator to ever receive the honor. Urtubey, a special education teacher in Nevada, is the first Latina to receive it since 2005.

“It feels like early childhood educators are finally getting the recognition and the respect that they have deserved,” Rosproy said.

“I’m here because so many Black and brown mentors believed in me and let me know I had something to say,” Urtubey said.

Monday’s event was the first time two awardees were honored at the same time because last year’s event was postponed due to the pandemic. It made the ceremony especially emotional.

“It’s been a really challenging couple of years for teachers,” Urtubey said.

President Biden and the first lady, who is an educator, stressed the importance of teachers.

“If you think about it the single most consequential people in the world beyond our parents … is our teachers,” the president said.

“Someone is standing a little taller because you helped her find the confidence she needed,” Jill Biden said.

Urtubey and Rosproy said they are thankful to allies in the White House pushing for equity and resources in the classroom.