This Harlem teacher gets the ultimate surprise

"GMA" honors Dr. Dana Monteiro for his work in the community.
7:27 | 06/23/21

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Transcript for This Harlem teacher gets the ultimate surprise
Wonderful. Welcome back to "Gma." How are you doing, young fella? Welcome back. The Harlem samba have been performing for us all morning long in times square. You're not just here to entertain. This is Dr. Dana Monteiro, a teacher who leads the band. Good to have you with us. Fleiss to be here. Life with drums. Life with drums. It's been wonderful being back outside here with everybody. Music that you are bringing to us but that's not the only reason we are here, Dr. We want the country to know your story. This is a celebration for you. Take a look. All right. Reporter: This is the drum beat and heartbeat of Frederick Douglass academy in New York I would just walk down the hallways and you could just hear the drums playing and all the music in the background. I'm like, I think I want to be a part of that. Reporter: Known as the Harlem samba, proudly led by Dr. Dana Monteiro who is making music accessible through the rhythm of drums. Samba is rooted in African culture and for us being in Harlem, being in a place where most people relate to African culture, the drumbeat is a part of your DNA. You can't help but support it and want to be a part of it. Reporter: Inspired by a trip to Brazil 15 years ago, the classically trained trumpet player became motivated to learn and teach the language of samba. today Dr. Monteiro has transformed a music class into a thriving community. Being a part of this community meant a lot to me because it was a family. As a student a lot of people did not have the opportunity to go outside the confines of Harlem and music opened a lot of doors for us. Video lesson for how to play the break. Reporter: With the pandemic hitting last year, Dr. Monteiro got creative going virtual, not missing a beat. Dr. Monteiro rented a recording studio during the pandemic and recorded all the pieces of the sound of samba for students. there's a video online where he plays all the different parts of the samba. He told me that it took ten hours to record that video that was 30 seconds long. It's the epitome of going above and beyond for students. Really motivated me even to push in my other courses I have Dr. Monteiro to believe in me. When Dr. Monteiro had emailed us that he was able to let us back into the school building to play again, that like lit something up inside of me knowing I'll be able to go back and play with Dr. Monteiro was the best moment for me. Reporter: Dr. Monteiro using the power of music to help his students succeed on stage and off. Thank you, Dr. Monteiro. For everything. I just want to say thank you so much for being the best teacher and really just being there for us. You've left such a huge impact on my life so thank you again, Dr. Monteiro. We love you. Dr. Monteiro, ladies and gentlemen. Yes. What a surprise. You got a crick in your neck looking at the Jumbotron. To hear what students, alumni have said about you, what does that mean to you. It's very special. Especially this year. Because of all -- It's been very difficult and everybody had a hard time and we've all -- we've all worked so hard to try to maintain what we had and to give back so it's very special. To be surprised like this. Where does the passion come from? How many trips did you make to Brazil? 23 visits back and forth and also learning from people here in New York City and learning from people in other countries and it was tough. Where is Chloe? We talk about the music but it's more than just the music this guy means to you. Yeah, absolutely, so Dr. Monteiro has influenced my life in many ways, one being that he's taught me how to be a leader, second he has taught me the importance of knowing and getting to know the members and those that are around you and lastly he's taught me how to trust my own potential and my abilities and those around me. Oh, wow. He's left a huge impact on my life. That is wonderful. I mean, to know -- that's what all teachers, just want to know you've made that kind of impact, don't you? Yi, it's good to know. It's worth waking up every day. Goodness gracious. I hope this is worth waking up for. Yes. Not just this, look up again at the Jumbotron. We have a little something for you. Guess what, guess what, guess what, well, the flag award for teaching excellence is going to you, sir. $25,000. Oh. The mission to help celebrate, to help celebrate exceptional teachers such as yourself but, wait, there's more. In addition to the 25,000, they're going to also award $10,000 to your program's art program. The art program. So $25,000 to you, $10,000 to the school. What will you be able to do with Oh, we are going to -- we're going to try to get technology. We've been using technology the whole year. We're going to try to get it to be part of what we do and try to help us to bring -- to bring our program back as fast as possible. They were waiting on you to say we're all going to Brazil. I know they are. That's not it but really congrats. It is so cool. We've been out here -- we knew this was coming. You didn't. He's been out here directing. Had no idea what's going on. They all helped pull this off so thank you to the kids, as well. Congratulations. What do you want to say to fellow teachers, especially what you've gone through this past It was a difficult year and I think that next year will be better and one morn message I think that comes from my samba program is try to be different and try to do things not in a normal way. It's not normal for a school to have samba and it's been such a great thing for our whole school community to have something different, something new. It's wonderful. You all want to play us off a little bit? Want to hit a little something-something as we go to commercial break? Can you? Here we go.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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