Listen up, teachers. If you ever doubt your influence, read this entry.
I was in my hometown of Paris, Tenn., over the weekend for a couple of family events and a signing of “Champions for Change.” There, I had the opportunity to visit with a couple of people who helped make this book possible. They weren’t players on the Mississippi State teams of that era, nor were they editors or librarians or any of the number of folks I encountered along the way. Their influence came much earlier. They were teachers of mine at Henry County High School: Vickie Wheatley Boyd and Stephen Geller.
Mrs. Boyd — look, all these years later, it still doesn’t feel right calling teachers by their first names — actually hosted the event at Merison’s, a store she and her husband own. She taught journalism and was the newspaper adviser, and always preferred The Commercial Appeal when it came to using the major dailies we received in Paris for teaching points. (So, you know, she’s smart.) Mr. Geller taught English, and while I don’t recall the exact class title, I believe it was literature. I know it was junior year. But his influence went far beyond his exact class title or textbook. Mr. Geller loved the language and especially loved seeing his students learn.
Without these two teachers, I can’t imagine going down the path that led to this book. So you’ll understand why I wanted to be sure to have my wife take photos of us together, and I hope you enjoy them here on this blog:
Pretty cool, huh?
So, thanks to Mrs. Boyd and Mr. Geller and all the other teachers I’ve had along the way. Never doubt your influence. And realize that when you come to a book signing and say you’re proud, well, that’s about as awesome as it gets.
(Photo credit: Courtnay Veazey)