The other day, I ran into an old friend, Mike. We’d gone to grammar school together back in New Jersey, and I hadn’t seen him in years.
“I was just talking about you!” he said. “I took my family skiing for the first time, and I told them about my very first ski trip in seventh grade, to Shawnee Mountain. I need to thank you for bringing skiing into my life, and my kids’ lives. They loved it.”
“Wow,” I said. “How cool! But it wasn’t just me, it was thanks to Ms. Patterson, too.”
Yes, I’d planned our school’s first ski trip, back in seventh grade. But it wouldn’t have happened without the help and support of our teacher Ms. Patterson, who pushed me, supported me, and consistently raised the bar on what I thought was possible.
Throughout middle school, she challenged me. I rewrote papers, did volunteer work, and became officer of various clubs, all under her strict eye. She’d...