Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Goodbye Miss Haley

This year has been filled with some major personal loss thus far and unfortunately I lost another person that had a big hand in who I am and where I am today. Unfortunately we lost Miss Haley on Monday. Miss Haley was 91 (the same age as my grandfather who passed a month ago tomorrow) and taught for 69 years - the article states this is believed to be the longest in the country and I don't doubt it for a second. Miss Haley has taught up to 3 generations of family members, she taught (and outlived) Florida's former governor Lawton Chiles. If you have time I urge you to check out that article and the numerous others easily found on The Ledger page or on google, she's been on many major network news shows on cbs, msnbc and others and has led such an amazing life - so please check out her story if you have time. Click this link for The Ledger's special section on this amazing woman.

I had the life changing experience of taking her english course my final semester at Lakeland Senior High. She had the unique privilege (one of many privileges she picked up while teaching over the years - another great one was they named the building she taught in after her, while she was still there - I guess the got tired of waiting for her to retire - ha) of selecting her class from the roster of all senior english courses so it was truly a gift to be in her class. I absolutely cannot say enough about her and if I tried it would not do her justice. The most amazing thing about her, is even when I had her in 2000, yes she was probably the oldest teacher in the state (but don't tell her that, she hated the word old) but she was on top of everything and probably one of the most motivating, sincere, and focused teachers I had while at LHS. She had a huge influence on my writing, and I have her to thank for a lot of the skills I still use today in law school and some of the skills that I will definitely use when I practice. Miss Haley did not have any children of her own, she considered her students her children and although that may sound cliche it was true - she remembered every one of her past students and even me every time I would see her, she knew what was going on in my life (partly due to my mom keeping her updated) and always had a smile on her face, a hug to offer, and an amazing conversation waiting for you. I will never forget her asking me and a few other students to speak at our Senior baccalaureate and the guidance she gave me in writing and speaking that I still think back to even today.

I saw her last at an LHS football game this past season (she attended them all) and I am glad we got to speak one last time. I am very sorry to have lost her as a mentor, a friend, and as a teacher but I am so thankful for all of the gifts she bestowed upon me and the literally THOUSANDS of other students that she taught over the 69 amazing years. Thank you Miss Haley, I speak for the thousands of students who's lives you have shaped in saying thank you, we love you, and you will truly be missed.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

What a legacy, God Bless her :)