A small child walks into new surroundings and begins to wonder why his parents made him come today. He really doesn't want his mother to leave and he begins to cry. He looks around for a warm face and a friendly smile. Then he sees her. His teacher walks over and welcomes him with a hug.

This if often the case for many five and six year olds every year as they begin kindergarten. I remember the warm smile my teacher gave me my very first day of school. That's something I will carry with me throughout my life.

During my final year at Springlake-Earth, I've been given the privilege of working in elementary as Mr. Bigham's aide. This has allowed me to observe teachers and students in a new perspective. I find it amazing how so many children still look up to their teachers. For some reason, I was under the impression that that was all in the past.

One day, as I was running errands for Mr. Bigham, I heard my kindergarten teacher singing to her class. I stopped and stood at her door. I stood there in awe as I took it all in. I was taken back to that special time that had meant so much to me. The look on the kids' faces reminded me of that feeling of knowing your teacher is more than just your teacher; she is your friend.

In my case, my teacher/friend would be Mrs. Kathy Carr. She has always had a special connection.

With her students, past and present, I am thankful that I never walked out of her room without knowing that she loved us all as her own. I'm sure we tested her patience more than once, but I don't remember her ever screaming or "losing it" in front of our class. I admire her remarkable will and her strong heart. I truly believe teachers like her are Heaven-sent.

I say, "Thank You," not only to Mrs. Carr, but also to all teachers and staff members for giving us the opportunity to succeed in life. Thank you for lessons taught and the memories made.

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