On page 42 of this issue, we have an article that chronicles some of the remarkable accomplishments – and scheduled accomplishments – of local educational entities. The middle of summer might seem an odd time to pay tribute to scholastic endeavors, but I would contend that, whenever we salute educators and educatees, it is an appropriate gesture.
I say that because of this:
- I am the son of one teacher.
- I am married to another.
- I am father to a third.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to all my family members and friends – and anyone else – who have devoted their lives to improving others’ lives.
Nobody does that better than Susan Youngblood, the woman who shares a home with me and who answered a calling a long time ago never to give up on a single kid, no matter how desperate the situation looks. While she loves those students for whom learning always seems to come easily, she revels in the opportunity to help “turn on the light bulb” for the (too) vast array of pupils who, for a variety of reasons, were discarded by the system and were taking a fast track to the wrong side of the tracks.
As pre-teens, no less.
Many of those “lost souls” have contacted her over the years to let her know that her passion, compassion and persistence changed the course on which they were headed and ultimately pointed them in the right direction.
Before I saw Susan work her magic, I witnessed D.Anne Youngblood do something equally remarkable. I called her “Mom” first, but over her career in the classroom, hundreds of other youngsters began to follow suit. You don’t get that distinction outside the home unless you earn it. Mom earned it by not only explaining the intricacies of math and science but by loving every prospective mathematician and scientist who came her way, even – especially – those who were hard to love.
Susan and D.Anne were so gifted at their profession that their example inspired our daughter to follow their footsteps into the classroom, and, though Hannah is a relative novice, I already see my wife’s and mother’s precedent guiding her to become the kind of teacher kids ultimately recall among their favorite mentors.
The job descriptions say that Susan teaches science, Mom taught the gamut and Hannah teaches history, but they really teach (and taught) students – one by one – to be better human beings.
And they – and their ilk – aren’t appreciated enough.