SAN ANTONIO -

A retired elementary school teacher is singing praises of singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan. 

Dorothy Lee Collins, 81, was the megastar's first-grade teacher at Winston Elementary School in 1963. 

She has taught more than 500 students in her career, but Estefan sticks out in her mind.   

Collins was the first to teach the singer how to read and speak English.

"She was a shy little girl, but I was just so proud of her picking up so quickly," she said.

The seven-time Grammy-winner only lived in San Antonio for one year before moving back to Miami.  

But in that short time, she knew a bright future was ahead.

Collins says she hasn't seen Estefan since she was 6 years old. 

She says she always knew Estefan would be successful at whatever she chose to do.

"Anyone who could learn as fast as she did has to excel, and that's what I could see in her," said Collins.

Estefan will be headlining the People en Espanol Festival this weekend. 

Collins is excited to see her former student at her best.

But before the big weekend, she’ll have a special meeting with the megastar on Friday.

“It's just a great joy that you get out things when you hear about your students being successful, " said Collins.

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