__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 13

Mariel Blake at 5 years old

minutes of pure awe.This was the 70s so I was sitting up front with only a waist seatbelt and I could see and touch everything. It was like riding in a spaceship. My parents said I would not shut up about that car ride for months. What I took from her comment was don’t let anyone tell you something is not for you. If you want it and you are willing to put in the work to get it then you can have it.You don’t need permission.You don’t need to wonder if people will like it or think it’s appropriate. If you want to live a certain way and others don’t approve, don’t let that block your happiness. Mrs. Neely always encouraged me to not only do my best but to be myself in everything. I heard this from my mother all the time, but to hear it from a teacher and to see her living it made a deep impact on me.Over the years of growing up and becoming a woman, life has been really good about trying to put me in a box. Thanks to Mrs. Neely I have always had at my core an unshakable belief in myself and my ability to do or be whatever I want. Public school teachers get a bad rap and are often the scapegoat for all that’s wrong with our children. I was a public school kid

for K through 12 and in that time I was blessed with many great teachers. As the daughter, wife and sister of public school teachers I know the struggles they face. I know how hard they work for so little recognition or compensation. I also know that all the pain and frustration and fatigue and stress is worth it when you see your students doing well. I still see Mrs. Neely regularly. I never hesitate even now after all these years to tell her how much I loved and appreciated having her as my teacher and role model. She could have easily suppressed my sassy attitude and blossoming intellect with admonitions for me to be quieter, to not show off, to dumb it down so others wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. Instead she took every chance to nurture and encourage my little baby sparkle. She always told me to let my light shine. At a time when everything in her world was probably telling her to be quiet, to be humble, to know her place, Mrs. Neely was riding around in her Corvette and showing other little brown girls like me that we can be who we are and share our gifts with the world. Back then that was not only radical, it was magical. - Mariel Blake n www.athensparent.com 13

Profile for Steve Kelleher

Athens Parent February 2018  

Athens Parent February 2018  

Profile for ggpsteve
Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded