People en Español
Alexander Mabry
August 30, 2013 AT 10:20 PM EDT

Gloria Estefan had an emotional Friday morning as she reunited with her first grade teacher, Dorothy Collins, at Winston Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas.

“We’ve been in touch throughout the years. She was very important to me”, said Estefan about Collins, who was teary-eyed as the singer said “thank you for all you gave me and for changing my life.”

Estefan, whose mother, Gloria Fajardo, was a teacher herself, emphasized the importance of education. “You need to get an education in order to be the best you can be,” she said to a crowd of awestruck kids.

The Cuban singer arrived at Collins’ class in 1963 without knowing a word of English. Estefan remembers how she had to deal with heckling fellow classmates. “She was very shy,” Collins recalled, saying how Gloria “has not changed at all” regardless of superstardom.

Her husband Emilio Estefan —with whom she will celebrate her 35th wedding anniversary this Labor Day Weekend— and her daughter Emily accompanied the singer. “I’m sending my baby to college. She is the best musician of all of us.”

San Antonio Councilman Diego Bernal gave Gloria Estefan the title of Mayor for a Day. “This is the greatest honor the city of San Antonio bestows on anyone,” Bernal said.

“They must trust me a lot!” Estefan quipped.  

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