This June, it will be 30 years since I graduated from Bald Eagle-Nittany High School. That seems amazing to me. I was always proud to be a "Benny," even though when asked at the time I would never admit that I liked school. I did love playing basketball. Thank you, Coach Heintz.
I was speaking with a co-worker the other day about some of my exploits during my high school days. We pretty much agreed that if I were to be a student today, I would be surrounded by counselors and social workers. So many referrals to the SAP team would be made, I would have my own drawer in the filing cabinet.
Even though back then there weren't the social services in place, I still had teachers who cared and made a difference.
Some of them I have had the opportunity to say "thank you" to over the years and others I have not. I would like to take this opportunity to say "thank you" to each of them now.
It might be 30 years late, but I never was that good at turning my homework in on time. In my conversation with my co-worker, she asked me if any teachers ever reached out to me.
The answer to that is yes.
One teacher who had the biggest influence on me was my Spanish teacher, Alice Mosser. I can't pinpoint exactly what she did or how she did it.
I think it was just how she interacted with me. She encouraged me to have confidence in myself and she listened to me.
She wouldn't lecture me. She encouraged me to want to do the right thing. I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for her even to this day. If you happen to see this, Alice, thank you.
By the way, I have been hoping to run into you to let you know that I am working on my Master's Degree now. It is a little late, but better late than never.
Carole Young taught me in junior high school and then I took an elective with her in, I think, 10th grade. I can't remember what the elective was called, but we studied all sorts of off-the-wall subjects.
I remember we went on a tour to a funeral home. We studied how commercials use sexual imagery to promote their products and I ate some sort of chocolate-covered bug in her class.
She is another teacher that deserves a thank you from me. She had a calming effect on my typical hyper-active self. She also encouraged me to recognize that I had abilities if I would choose to use them. Thank you.
My two phys-ed teachers during my years at BEN were Bonnie Probst and Janet Kramer.
They were amazing.
I would often go to the gym to shoot hoops or to talk with them. I frequently would mention stories about my brother or a friend who I felt was drinking too much. I am pretty sure they knew I was talking about myself.
They would talk with me and make me aware of the resources that were available for those with problems of addiction.
Again, they were willing to listen to me. I was able to talk to them about problems going on at home and they would listen and make suggestions. Thank you to both of you.
Each of these teachers encouraged me to have confidence in myself and to want to do the right things. I believe this is a trait of an exceptional teacher. So, as I reflect back on my high school days, I have a lot to be thankful for. I think being a teacher is about more than just teaching the subject matter, it is about encouraging learning and making a difference in the lives of your students.
Each of you who I mentioned made a difference in my life. Even though you are all retired from teaching at this point, I continue to learn from the things you taught me.
I just want to send out a big, heartfelt thank you to each of you.