I read this quote about teachers today, “A teacher holds a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.” The author of these words is unknown, but what he or she said is very important. The words are so true!

It got me thinking about the teachers I had who did all three of those things in my life. Of course, my parents taught me so much before I even started school, and through my entire life. I still quote what my Dad said about a lot of things, "Don't look for trouble. It has a way of finding you on its own," and "It's as easy to learn a good habit as a bad one." The first school teacher who comes to mind is my high school civics teacher, Mr. Huxen. His class awakened me to politics, government, and how to take action. He escorted the students from my school to Washington, D.C. for Close-Up (Mitch Landrieu was also on that trip, but I think politics was already in his genes.)  His was also the first class where we were allowed to really discuss the study material. He asked us questions and gave us room to think about our responses, instead of just spouting out what was in the textbook. Another teacher who immediately comes to mind was Mrs. Fay Lewis, who taught me Biology and Genetics. At the time, I was seriously considering becoming a doctor, so her classes and our personal discussions about the sciences made a huge impact on me. She came after a 4th-grade teacher who told my parents that science wasn't important for girls. (Mom and Dad pulled me out of that school right away.) Mr. Bernard Crocker, at USL, taught a couple of my broadcasting and advertising classes. He had actually worked in the field before becoming a teacher, so his real-world experience impressed me. I was also blessed to have been a part of the Honors Program in college where I had the privilege of being taught by Drs. Milton and Patricia Rickels. They were two of my favorite professors because of their love of the material and their passion for sharing it with us. The last was Ernie Daniels, who taught speech and theater classes. His impact on me was mostly cultural, though. His was my very first college class. When he first walked into the classroom at Burke Hall, he was wearing a full-length caftan, an earring, and sandals. I remember thinking, this is a long way from thirteen years of Catholic school! But it set the tone for a wonderful college experience. As a volunteer with FIRST Robotics, I've witnessed adult mentors and teachers lead young people in amazing ways, as well. Teachers have had an impact on my entire life outside the classroom, as well as in it. I'm so grateful to have known these wonderful educators!

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