31 Years Of Graduates Do One Last Homework Assignment

Some teachers can change your life. Carrie Kolder is one of those kinds of teachers. From the Chicago Tribune (Registration required – privacy guarded ID’s available at BugMeNot):

It was a dream only an English teacher would have: a retirement party jammed with hundreds of former students, all bearing essays.

That’s what Carrie Kolder wanted as a brain tumor brought her 31-year career at Fremd High School in Palatine to a premature end. And on Saturday, after nearly a year of planning, that’s what she will get.

As many as 500 of her “kids”–some of whom are now approaching their 50s–are expected to meet in the school cafeteria for a farewell salute to the tough but tender Mrs. K, who demanded the best from D students and college bound alike.

She set the price of admission as one last bit of homework, a paper in which the students recall how their time in Kolder’s classroom shaped their lives. The assignment has prompted many to reflect on the huge impact one teacher can have.

“I was told in high school that I was not college material by my guidance counselor. [Kolder] said that’s not acceptable, and now I have my master’s degree,” said Cindy Guerrero, 38, a health teacher at Barrington High School. “That kind of shows that even when you don’t have faith in yourself, a lot can be accomplished when someone has faith in you.”

[Read the rest]Imagine that – high expectations and hard work produce productive adults. I hope this generations teachers are picking up her mantle.

Note: At first I thought this was going to be a graduation nightmare story, which is why I followed the links to it. Who hasn’t had a nightmare where you dream that years later you find out you never really graduated? Take you pick on the source of the conflict in the dream: coming up short on credits, missing a class all year, failing to pay parking tickets, not doing your senior thesis, etc… I know what I’ll be dreaming about tonight…

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One Response

  1. Rachel Ann June 28, 2004