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Future LSJH students are going to be missing outPosted Thursday, August 2, 2012, at 8:37 AM
We learned the first day of seventh grade English that Kay Sullivan's small stature was quite deceiving.
It was no match for her powerful voice, enthusiasm and most of all the impact she had on our lives as we entered the terror called junior high.
When I learned Mrs. Sullivan announced her retirement, I felt sorry for all the future students who won't have the opportunity to sit in her classroom.
While many of us were hitting puberty at 13 -- and fighting over who is dating whom -- it was rare to have an entire class completely respect a junior high teacher.
Almost every single one of us did -- and still do to this day -- respected her as an educator and mentor.
When I first started my job at the Greene County Daily World I was sent to the halls of Linton-Stockton Junior High -- a place I hadn't roamed in at least four years -- to see my former teacher about a story.
It had been nearly a decade since I'd sat in Kay Sullivan's classroom, but she recognized me right off the bat.
The best part? She gave me words of encouragement about my newfound career, and told me she had been keeping up with my work. Plus, she said she was really proud of me.
She was part of the fuel for my love of writing.
We wrote essays, short stories and letters to the troops who had recently been sent overseas.
I was able to send a letter to my neighbor -- who was also a classmate's father -- as he spent time in Iraq. As a teenager, that was an incredible experience.
She took the time to use constructive criticism as we found our writing niches, and never judged as we struggled from time to time.
One thing that stands out in my mind was after we read the book Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, that old school television strapped on a rolling cart came into the room with the VHS popped in.
I don't know why the story of that mongoose stands out in my mind when I think of her classroom.
The one thing that will always stick with me about my time in Mrs. Sullivan's class is her utmost respect for her students.
Don't get me wrong, if you upset her you definitely knew about it. But, she never held a grudge. Once the incident was over, it was over and she moved on.
Mrs. Sullivan saved me from a world of embarrassment when I was a seventh grader, sitting in the front row of her classroom.
As a young girl that just started to undergo womanly changes, I found myself in a wildly obvious predicament where I couldn't move from my seat without people realizing I had some major changes going on.
She sent the students to the Resource Center, helped me get the embarrassing problem taken care of and got my mom on the phone to come get me.
That alone will stick with me forever. The incident was never spoken of again, and I didn't have to face the pressing questions of my peers as I coped with the unsuspected issue.
Future Linton-Stockton Junior High School students will be missing out on the small, dynamite of a teacher we called Mrs. Sullivan.
Sabrina is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 847-4487 .
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