Congratulations to Nikki Coates, our September contest winner! Nikki, you’ll receive one copy of Dear Mr. Henshaw on CD to share with your students. We asked respondents to share stories about who inspired them, and we got some great responses! Here are a few of our favorites, but we encourage you to read the rest of the inspiring stories as well—perfect for a pick-me-up on this day of remembrance:
Nikki Coates: I have many people who have inspired me in my life. However the one that I think of first would be my chemistry teacher from high school. I used to hate all kinds of science, I was even nervous taking chemistry I didnt think I would pass. Science was always boring and hard for me. I had my teacher for chemistry my sophomore year and ap chemistry my senior year. Yes, I took two years even though I didnt need to. My teacher made it enjoyable and fun to learn. After being in her class for two years I started thinking about becoming a science teacher. However; once I started doing some observation hours I changed my mind and wanted to become a special ed teacher. I want students to learn and have fun and see that school isnt as bad as it seems!
John Bradford: My Catholic high school chaplain, Father William Schooler, inspired me. A true humanist, he encouraged the students to think for themselves – even if that put him at odds with the school administration or the other faculty. The books in his office were always available for loan, and he introduced me to C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and comparative religion.
Victoria Mazur: My fourth grade teacher, Miss Judy, was an inspiration to me as a budding writer. She allowed me to read voraciously and did not censor my creativity. Her incentives included a meal at her home (that would probably not be permitted now) and I will always remember my introduction to alfalfa sprouts. I threw up on the way home.
MaryAnn: Eleanor was the most amazing children’s librarian! Her enthusiasm inspired generations of readers in her public library, and her storytimes were legendary in the County. Most amazingly, she could locate a book just from a brief description of a character or situation. One day I heard a young lady ask her for a book tin which a girl sat on a porch and chewed gum…and Eleanor’s face lit up. Off she flew to the stacks, returning with the right book! She introduced me to the classics, to illustrators, to storytelling and to public service, and I would be thrilled to be remembered as her student!
Mike Jones: One person in my life who had a tremendous impact on me was my high school football coach. This coach didn’t just inspire, he forever changed me and the path my life took once I started playing for him. No one in my life had ever pushed me so hard, made me work so much, been so tough on me, or cared as much as he did. This man believed in me more than I believed in myself, and through his dedicated, persistent effort, he was able to reach me in a way that no teacher, coach, or person had ever done before. The main, and most important things that that this coach taught me had nothing to do with football but are tools that I will use the rest of my life; the ability to apply myself to the highest levels and work through whatever obstacles or adversity come my way.
If you didn’t get a chance to share a story about someone who inspired you, we’d still love to hear from you on this post. And as always, stay tuned for another contest next month!