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The Joys and Rewards of Having Great Teachers

It only seems like a few years ago when it reality it was a few decades ago. I strongly believe that in order to get a decent education I have to be a willing partner and do my fair share. My parents have to have a stake in my education as does the quality of the educator that will develop my skills, challenge me to think critically, lead me on the right road, and help me advance year by year to become an individual that will become a productive member of society.

During these years certain teachers stood out for various reasons. Each with a different style, personality, and an appeal that would leave a footprint imbedded in my mind for life. For all intent and purposes I was very good student for the first 9 years of school and as a teenager, that contentious rebellious stage took over my persona and I became a different student and my grades took a tumble. I did pass my classes and managed to graduate a semester earlier than my graduating class.

I attended Davey Crockett Elementary School in Corpus Christi, Texas. The person who taught me about pride, life, people, as well as curriculum was none other than my 5th/6th grade teacher, Ms. Peggy Harryman. I come from a family of seven and Ms. Harryman taught 4 of us (Not the same year of course). She was a great person and even a better teacher. What really stood out was her genuine sense that she could be stern, hilarious, but she was also fair, decent, caring, and had a tremendous positive impact on her students. Mrs. Harryman, you definitely left an indilibe mark on my soul that led me trudging on the right road.

Junior High School can be a dreadful place to work and I am sure that Claude Cunningham Junior High School was no different. I had a boys choir teacher named Mrs. Castro. Her message to all of us was to shoot for the moon with our personal goals. We were as good as anyone else and if we set our mind to doing something we could accomplish those goal. Most of us that were fortunate enough to have been touched by Mrs. Castro and heeded her advice with our personal goals were successful. This choir class turned out 2NFL players, 5-6 college football scholarship recipients and then there were others like me that had to serve our country during the VietNam era and waited our turn to earn our degrees with the help of the GI Bill. Thank you Mrs. Castro for your counsel and wisdom that made us realize our dreams through hard work and for making us believe in ourselves.

Lastly, a dynamite math teacher, Mrs.Kirby. Mrs. Kirby was compassionate, always a smile on her face and to this day I just knew she had a heart of gold. She was an excellent algebra intstructor and her presentations made it so easy to learn and we were always trying to please her. I think of Mrs.Kirby sometimes, and I can see her hair in a bun, black rimmed glasses, and a smile unlike one that I have never seen again. What a great lady.

To these wonderful teachers that gave it their all, believed in us ,inspired us, taught us to dream big and most importantly taught us to follow through with life’s lesson, I just want to say after all of these years, a great big heartfelt “ thank you” for making an exceptional difference in my life.