This week, however, an educator shared a story with me that's so inspiring that I did remember details, memorable enough that I want to share it with my readers. Two days ago I spoke to 1500 educators at the Educators are Essential Celebration, a recognition of American Education Week that honored the public school teachers of Columbus Municipal Schools, the Lowndes County Schools, and numerous private school educators from Columbus, Mississippi. After I shared my story about the difference my own first grade teacher had on my life, I was whisked away by a local reporter who interviewed me briefly. I returned to the auditorium to gather my things just as the audience was released, and so I became the official door-holder and ended up talking to almost each and every one of the 1,500. So many of them wanted to share their "Mrs. Warnecke" with me, and I was inspired by each one.
But toward the end of the crowd spilling out of the auditorium, a gentleman in a suit and tie stopped in front of me and told a brief story: "I was a high school dropout. I was going nowhere. And one night the high school assistant principal saw me at a basketball game at the school. He literally dragged me out of the stands and to his office. There he handed me the GED booklet. I'm now an assistant principal myself, and soon I'll receive my doctorate in education."
My mouth fell open. From high school dropout to school administrator soon to be called "Dr." The success of this man can be traced back to one MOMENT, one moment in time when an educator refused to give up on a kid, a moment when everything changed.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that we don't make a difference in this profession. We're doing it. Moment by moment.