Notes on the season

2 years ago

Entering the heart of the holiday season, take a moment to pause for those wonderful teachers and educators who have entered your life at various moments to offer hope, a smile or encouragement.

Remember Mrs. Griffin, who ran the principal’s office at Zippel Elementary School? She could answer the phone, type up a letter to parents, console a kid with a broken arm or leg, and still keep a smile on her face.

There was Mrs. Hay, teacher of fourth grade. Her classes were always amusing experiences. Building a working model of a modern water treatment plant, reading “Charlotte’s Web” after lunch, the Great Hand Puppet Battle including the flying character that hit the globe on the shelf, and other moments of modest excitement for a bunch of fourth-graders.

Then there was Mrs. Desmond. She lived for music. Somehow she managed to coax out some tremulous notes from a crowd of fifth-graders. The ivories on her classroom piano danced and stretched as she introduced many a student to the basic staff with humor and wit, believing all students could sing with a bit of charm and a gentle laugh or two.

All of them and many more encouraged students to keep on exploring this wonderful world. 

As this holiday season unfolds and embraces all, it helps to remember a few who have entered our lives and shone a light on the long road to understanding. Their gift is modest and profound. Thank you.

Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television, later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.