We gather here to honor Grace’s memory. This room is filled to capacity and that just shows me how much she impacted, not only my life, but the life of others. Through her teaching, Grace was able to accomplish what she always wanted, and that was to help those who could not help themselves. Their motivation wasn’t for lack of trying, but from the beginning, the odds were stake against them. She helped those who had the misfortune of living in a society that looks down on those who are different because she, herself, was different.
Her classmates might remember a quiet girl who would whether be reading a book instead of attending Math or Science class. Her students might remember a teacher who assign too much homework, but I remember a friend. Yes, she was quiet, but that is what made her a good listener and a great observer. Her collection of books that scattered the floor of her classroom depicted a woman interested in anything and everything. One day she could be reading a great fiction book or one of the classics. The next you might see her with her head in a biography about the King, Elvis. She was interested in what was going on in the lives of her students- maybe too much- it was no secret who called the cops on that party after Prom. I remember when she met the love of her life during her first year teaching at Warm Springs Middle School. She thought she would never get married despite her efforts. We are joined by her surviving love ones, her five kids and her grandchildren who she loved very much. I would like to say, while she never got to meet the man of her dreams, George Clooney, instead she got something better, her husband.
She lived to her fullest potential, even with the odds staked against her. After graduating from Concord University, she took a job at Warm Springs Middle School. While working there, she was able to teach a creative writing class, where she hoped to meet the next New York best-seller. Obviously, she had high hopes for her students, but she also had high hopes for herself. She probably wasn’t thinking this highly about herself. While her career was an extensive one- twenty-five years- she wanted to do more. For her community, family, and friends, but most importantly herself. When she took a job at the high school, when her eight graders thought that they were rid of her; however, she took an active role in many clubs, even coaching the soccer team. Now, that was a monstrosity, but you couldn’t fault her for trying. Please excuse the cliché, she wanted to make the world a better place, but she really did, just not in the way many would expect.
Yes, she helped students fill out their college applications and made sure they were okay, but she guaranteed this every time the seniors graduated. By getting to know her students, she was able to give something special to those on their way to the real world: a book. It wasn’t just any book, but a book that could potentially help you get through college and life.
And that is why, instead of mourning her passing; we should do something that will bring her back to us, spiritually. By reading a book that she either gave you or someone else’s, we will be able to connect with her one last time or more depending on how many books you read.