Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Earth Angel

I have a great friend you should know. She's not one to toot her own horn and will likely be highly embarrassed to read about herself here. But I think you should know about the work she does.

She teaches high school in a small rural county in the south. The countryside is beautiful, but opportunities are few and far between. About a third of the adults in this little county passed up or missed out on the opportunity to graduate from high school or earn a GED. Nearly one in five of the 15,000 residents live below the official poverty level.

She is a gifted teacher--the kind good parents hope to see at least once before graduation. She genuinely cares about each and every student she encounters. Failure is not an option in her classroom, not because she's easy, but because she works hard to engage each and every student. She never gives up, and doesn't allow her students to quit either.

Though she's a gifted teacher, it's not her work in the classroom that impresses me the most. It's the stuff she does when she's not teaching that blows me away. Hers is a very rare gift. She has the heart of my beloved Aunt Toodles and like her, knows exactly what to say or do to make small but significant differences in the lives of the people around her.

Here's just one of many, many examples I could share about little things she's done that warm my heart. She's a passionate and talented photographer--an interest she's pursued for most of her life. On picture day at school, she stands behind the official photographer with her own camera to take pictures of the kids. Then she prints her photographs and gives them to the kids who can't afford to pay for the school package. How thoughtful is that?

She's a great mother, too. Her kids make her proud every day. They're active in a billion things and excel at more than a few. Wherever they are, whatever they're doing, you'll find her lurking in the background with her camera capturing each and every precious moment.

She's active in her church and lives by what she believes in a way that inspires me to want to be more like her. I'm sure many others are similarly impacted by her kindness, generosity and compassion. She makes being Christian look like a good thing, and for me to say so is saying something.

I'm so very proud she counts among her friends...

The Crotchety Old Man

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