Friday, June 10, 2005

The Passing of a Teacher

Suzanne Smith, who was my school principal for one year in the small town of Levant, Maine, where I grew up, recently died, just a few days before her official retirement. She had a fundamental impact on my life in so many ways and now, as is so often the case, it's too late for me to let her know. I'm sure she realized that she was a positive force for so many years in our community, but, again, I regret not having personally conveyed my sincere gratitude for all she did for me both individually and within the context of what she did for my generation of students as a whole. In short, she made a kid from Massachusetts feel welcome in a small school, far away from what he had known. She helped his Dad get the money to fund the town baseball teams. She spearheaded The Maine Journey, a program that took middle-school kids from 4 small towns and bussed them around the state of Maine during the summer to visit historical and cultural sites. It also probably helped foster the travel bug that eventually saw me travel the world's oceans in the Merchant Marine. Finally, she and others helped inspire me to go back to school many years later to finally scratch that History itch and get a Masters Degree in History (almost done!) In these and so many other ways she nurtured and inspired us kids, her kids, to dream big dreams and to work towards their realization. I'll miss her, but fond memories and the example she set as a fine teacher and person are ideals to which I hope to aspire. She will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow.

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