Meghan Markle’s childhood teachers are remembering their former student as a talented, hard-working student who graced their stage before landing in television and later this month, the British royal family.
“My first thought really, truly was, ‘He is so lucky. He has no idea,'" one of Markle’s favorite high school teachers, Maria Pollia, told APTN of the moment she learned of her former student's engagement to Prince Harry.
Markle attended the Immaculate Heart Catholic School, an all-girls school in Los Angeles where she practiced charity work and starred in musicals in the school’s gym.
Pollia, who teaches theology, says she pushed Markle to volunteer at a Skid Row soup kitchen and break her out of her shy shell, APTN reported.
Markle, who was not Catholic, performed in musicals at the school, such as “Into the Woods," long before she won the role of Rachel Zane on the hit TV drama, "Suits," which aired its season finale, and Markle's final appearance, last month.
“I was actually showing her speech to the UN before she got engaged to Prince Harry simply because here is an alum, who’s gone out — she has a wonderful career — she’s very successful, but she has this sense of, 'I need to give back,'" Christine Knudson, head of the theology department at Immaculate Heart, told APTN.
Other women who attended the Catholic school and later became big names include Mary Tyler Moore and Tyra Banks.
Knudson believes Markle has relatable qualities to Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana.
"I see a lot of Princess Diana in her," Knudson said. "I think she has the ability to really speak to what's important to her heart, and I think she will."
Following Immaculate Heart, Markle attended Northwestern, where she was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority.
"She always had a sense of confidence and poise and instead of complaining about something, let's think about what we might be able to do to change it," Knudson told APTN.
When she was just 5 years old, Markle's father, Thomas Markle, would bring Meghan to his job at Sunset Gower Studios, where he oversaw the lighting and camera crews on the long-running Fox sitcom, "Married... With Children."
He would also volunteer at Immaculate Heart to help with the lighting during their performances.
He currently resides in Mexico. Her mother, Doria Ragland, remains in Los Angeles.
The pair, who divorced when Meghan was 6, will both meet the Queen prior to the wedding where they will both have a special role in the celebration, according to Kensington Palace.
In honor of the wedding, Immaculate Heart Catholic School will have a tea party and a viewing of the royal ceremony, although it will be taking place at 4 a.m. local time.