Dedicated teacher became my hero

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Donna Carr was my first-grade teacher at Coopers Elementary School in 1970. This was before kindergarten attendance was required and I was not the sharpest crayon in the box! Mrs. Carr was such a supportive and kind teacher, making sure along with my mother’s help, God rest her soul, that I made it through each lesson.

I was only 5 years old at the time and had the worst handwriting of anyone in the class. I can vividly remember Mrs. Carr gently taking my hand in hers to help me form my first letters. This incident is one of the many times Mrs. Carr helped to ensure that I was successful in my studies.

What makes Mrs. Carr even more outstanding is how she has continued to follow me throughout my life. From elementary school to my high school and college graduations, I always received a card to tell me how proud she was of me. When I became a teacher, she even observed me in my own classroom and offered positive comments about my lesson.

When my children were born in 2001, she visited my home and was one of the first to hold my twins. When I retired in 2017, Mrs. Carr attended my retirement party and spoke many kind words about my entire family.

What makes my experience with Mrs. Carr most impressive is that she exhibited this same love for each student she taught. She has literally made thousands of calls and written countless notes to other adults and children just like me over the years to check on our progress. Just last week she called me to check on another child in a school where I briefly after my retirement because of a concern she had.

Too many times we wait to say “thank you” to people who have truly made a difference in our lives until it’s too late. I would encourage anyone who has been touched by Mrs. Carr to leave a comment in the paper to express what she means to you.

Divisive comments are often left in the Times; I hope someone will take the time to say thank you to a special teacher or person who made a difference in your life. If I was one tenth the teacher that Donna Carr was, and still remains, I would be happy indeed.

Tommy Speight

Elm City

The writer is a retired social studies teacher.