REEDSVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Not only are the Bengals headed to the Super Bowl for the first time in three decades, they’re headed there with an Ohio native at the helm: Quarterback Joe Burrow.

2 News Today anchor Lauren Wood had the chance to sit down with Burrow’s mother, Robin, this past week to talk about raising a superstar, building community, and the impact she sees on children as an elementary school principal.

“I am just seeing so much community support and love and pride,” said Robin Burrow, mother of Bengals quarterback, Joe Burrow. “It’s so awesome it’s just it’s really indescribable.”

There may be nowhere that pride is more evident than at the school in southern Ohio where Robin Burrow is principal, Eastern Elementary.

“Almost every single kid– if it’s an eighth-grader or if it’s a kindergartner– who walks by me there, they say, ‘I saw Joe on TV yesterday!'” Robin said.

All the excitement is bringing people together after a difficult couple of years during the pandemic.

“In order for a community to really thrive and push themselves to become a great community, people have to work together and communicate and have a common bond,” Robin said. “And I think that that kind of feels like what’s happening right now with the Bengals.”

That common bond allows her to have even more of a positive influence on her students, encouraging each of them with the heart of a mom.

“I treat all of the kids here at school the same way that I treated Joe,” Robin said. “You know, to me, they are my kids.”

Speaking of parenting… a lot of people have been curious about when Robin and her husband Jim knew that their son had the potential to do great things.

“Every single mom thinks their kid is special no matter what,” Robin said. “So I think that started from Day One. But then you start to realize the giftedness piece, or the potentially abnormally gifted.”

She says it was probably high school when they started to realize Joe might be able to make it as a college or professional athlete.

“All the way along I just always felt like he had some different qualities than some kids did,” Robin said. “You know, just a little bit more drive and a little bit more high expectations for himself.”

It was an attitude the Burrows tried to cultivate early on.

“We definitely expected a lot and didn’t lower the bar if they were ever situations that we felt like he could do better or push harder we certainly encouraged him to do so,” Robin said.

When he showed an interest in sports, the Burrows worked hard to find opportunities for him to play up to a higher level — something that can be a challenge in rural southern Ohio. But upping the level of competition helped a young Joe Burrow — and his teammates — have the confidence they needed to succeed.

“By the time we got in high school, those kids were like, ‘Well let’s go play St. Vincent St. Mary and see how we do?'” Robin recalled. “We almost beat them up there. It was a big deal.”

We asked her what her biggest advice is for both parents and children.

“For parents, expose them to different things,” Robin said. “For children, take chances and try different things. And then work hard at whatever it is.”

It’s a simple message, that she sees her son live out every day. “If you’re going to be a friend then be a good friend,” Robin said. “If you’re going to be a leader then you need to be a good leader not letting people down the wrong way.”