Back at the beginning of May, I received a call from a woman whom I've known a long time. I taught her kiddos many, many moons ago. About ten years ago she was hired by the district, I don't know her exact title, but she does lots of things for the district, one of the biggest being our Hays Education Foundation, which gives grants to teachers. When I answered the phone, she told me she had been looking for me everywhere, she though that maybe I had left the district. Probably because not only did I move campuses, but the district made me change all my information, including my email I had with the district for 15 years, to my legal name. She told me that I was being honored by a student who was graduating. She informed me it was a special banquet held each year for the top 10% of our high school students, in which they get to honor their most influential teacher. I was really taken off guard by this and I don't think I said a thing for a long, long moment. Tears filled my eyes as I tried to answer questions and take down some information.
The next day I met my student at a photo shoot at her high school, where one of the facilitators was telling me and another teacher there that we were only a handful of elementary teachers being honored. Out of 94 students, 86 picked a high school teacher, 3 chose middle school teachers, and 5 chose an elementary teacher.
This is such a huge honor to me, I know she could have chosen an elementary teacher she was with for hours a day for a whole year or even an art teacher in high school she worked closely with. It just goes to show if you come to work everyday with a smile on your face and excitement about what you are teaching, you WILL influence someone somewhere. We don't always know it, or even hear about it, but we do. Even elementary art teachers that see each student for 50 minutes at a time, maybe 35 visits a year. But, even for that small amount of time we can take students to a really beautiful and magical place, one that they will never forget.
Here is the essay she wrote, that was read while we walked the stage.
If it were not for the endless encouraging words of Mrs. Pruitt, I do not believe I would have been able to realize my artistic potential later on in my academic career. She made art class my favorite part of the day as a child. I remember seeing her ink stained fingertips and thinking they were beautiful. I wished to work as hard as she did in art so that one day I, too, could leave a trace of art on my body. She was the first teacher to make me feel like I could excel in a subject. Her nurturing nature and gentle spirit made a lasting impression on me, as did her art class. I consider myself lucky to have had an inspirational teacher like her in elementary school who ultimately influences my growing art career today.
I love this photo of Anabel. That is the sweet little face I got to teach art to from kinder thru 5th grade. This young lady is going to California to get her degree in studio art. So proud of her! Feeling blessed!
This is after the Linebarger reception.