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Moments of Courage

This post is about courage. When I think about all the difficult days I've had in my life, and all the incredible obstacles I've had to overcome in my life and in my teaching career, that would be a long, long, story.  
Moments of Courage: This post tells about an experience that showed me what I have worked for mattered in the life of a young lady.

The most difficult obstacle I've ever had to overcome was when my husband left me. I had to pull myself and my 2 1/2 year old daughter together and forge ahead. I'd tell the details about that, but it's far too personal to post online. All I can say is that I buried myself into my job and into being a mom, and I'm still here.  

I could tell about my stroke, but I've already done that.  (See When Bad Things Happen, Make Lemonade.) Instead, I wanted to tell you about a lesson I had, when I really knew the importance of making it through every day in the classroom, and giving each child everything you can.

I've been teaching long enough to see many of my students grow up to become adults, even wives, husbands, and parents. 

Unfortunately, I've been around long enough to see a few pass on.
By far, the worst, was a beautiful young lady with a 6 month old son, who was shot in front of the child by the child's father. I had Crystal when she was in 5th grade.  She wasn't a brilliant scholar, but she was a good kid who loved to read. Like many, math didn't come easily, but she worked hard. She was a very social 10 year old girl, and didn't hesitate to write to me in her journal about which boys she thought were cute and her frequent crushes. I always wrote back. I honestly don't even remember what I wrote, but I made sure she knew I cared.

Crystal went off to middle school and high school, and I never really heard from her, but I thought about her from time to time, especially when I'd heard she had a baby.

Then... the horrible news. I saw the story on the news and read about it in the paper. I knew I had to go to the wake, although it was tough. I remember seeing photographs of Crystal, several were taken around the time I had her in class. 

I'll never forget the look in her mother's eyes when I shook her hand at the wake and reminded her I was Crystal's teacher in 5th grade. I also remember how the mother clung to my hand, and wondering if she'd let it go.  

Finally, I left of the wake and started walking back to my car. A girl about the same age came running over to me saying, "Ms. DeCost, I'm so glad you came! You were Crystal's favorite teacher!"

I can still see her running over to me and saying those words. It's moments like this that remind me that everything we do may matter in the life of some child. I'm glad I gave Crystal everything I could. I really hope I made a difference in her life.
Moments of Courage: This post tells about an experience that showed me what I have worked for mattered in the life of a young lady.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ohhhhh. That made me cry!
    How sad that she was lost so soon... But how wonderful that you had made that kind of impact on her.

    Thanks for linking up...

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  3. That was a tear jerking and touching story. I haven't had to endure the pain of a former student passing on & can't even begin to imagine it. Despite all of the sadness, I'm sure it was so heartwarming to hear that you had such an impact on that child's life. It goes to show that we really do make a difference as teachers. Thank you for sharing that with us!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  4. My oh my that was not what I thought I'd read about today. I am so sorry to hear about the devastating events recently. But, they make us stronger and make our journey one of character. So glad to hear you did not give up or give in, instead pressed on. You are a hero. God Bless You.

    Always A Lesson

  5. I have given you an award! Please go to my blog & read the post "My First Blog Award" to see how to claim it. Excellent blog! http://kindergartenfunn.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-first-blog-award.html

  6. Thank you for linking up on my blog!! I appreciate it!

  7. Sally, what a powerful and tragic story. Thank you for sharing.

    Nicole (TpT Sr. Editor) :)


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