A pearl of a teacher - Catholic Courier

A pearl of a teacher

I truly believe I was born to be a writer.

From penning a plethora of rhyming poems in third grade to winning my small grammar school’s spelling bee a couple of years later, I fell in love with words.

Recently, my eighth-grade daughter came home with a school assignment based on the classic John Steinbeck novella The Pearl. It brought back memories of my eighth-grade experience with that story and how it influenced the course of my life’s path from that moment until now.

Our teacher, Sister Jacqueline, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Utica, N.Y., asked us to write our own reflections of the story. She picked the best three essays and had those "authors" read them aloud. I am proud to say I was one of the three. When I finished reading, Sister Jacqueline looked at me and said, "You should think about becoming a journalist."

Now, I cannot recall the content of the essay or why it prompted her to make that observation. But her words had a profound effect. I knew what God meant for me to do and worked tirelessly to get top marks in high school because I knew a full scholarship — which I was fortunate to receive — was the only way I was going to college.

So, in honor of the upcoming Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 29-Feb. 5), I honor all the educators in our diocese and thank them for their service. I often hear teachers and advocates — mainly who work with students in the city — say that if they have saved one student from a life of poverty, they have done their jobs.

Well, Sister Jacqueline, wherever you are, you broke that cycle for this child. God bless you!

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