Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Writer Wednesday: Thanking Those Who Inspire

As writers we talk all the time about the books and authors who have inspired us. And while I have my list of inspirational authors, there is someone on my list who isn't an author. He was my sophomore-year English teacher in high school. His name was Mr. McKay. He was the most enthusiastic and caring teacher I've ever had, and to be honest I can't even imagine a better teacher. He made me love reading and writing even more, and he solidified my decision to become a teacher. I wanted to inspire others the way he inspired me.

Why am I bringing up Mr. McKay today? Well, on Monday I visited two schools in my hometown. While I was at my first visit the teachers asked me when I graduated and if I knew Mr. McKay. My answer was, "He was favorite teacher!" Then they told me he is now Dr. McKay, principal of Lounsberry Hollow Middle School where my next visit was scheduled. I couldn't have been more excited. I had to tell him just how much he influenced me.

So that afternoon, I went to Lounsberry and I was overcome with emotion. First, there was a gorgeous banner and tons of signs made for me.




It was the nicest welcome ever, and I was so touched that the students and staff went through all that trouble just for me.

And then Dr. McKay walked into the library. My smile couldn't have been wider. He looked the same, and he remembered me. That made my day. We talked for a while, and not only did he give me a very touching introduction when the students arrived, but he also stayed for the entire hour and a half presentation and then stayed after to talk to me. Because he cares that much. Hearing him say he was proud of me was beyond words. I almost teared up several times, and I'm tearing up now as I type this. I told him face-to-face just how much he influenced me and that he is by far the best teacher I've ever had. I also gave him a signed copy of Touch of Death because he really wanted to read that one with his father/son book club, which made me insanely happy. And I may have written him a thank you card as well and gushed about his brilliance some more.

Being able to say "thank you" and tell Dr. McKay that I wouldn't be who I am today if not for his influence was an incredible experience. So if there's someone who had a big impact on you like this, please tell them, because we need more Dr. McKays in this world.
Me with Dr. McKay

26 comments:

  1. What a wonderful experience! I agree, we need more Dr. McKays in this world.

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    1. It was so amazing. I wish every day could be as great as that one. :)

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  2. It is a wonderful thing when we can thank the inspiring people in our lives. The teacher in my life was an unconvential scientist who became a teacher, Mr. K. He taught me to never take anything at face value-research it, try it, debate it, write about it, meditate on it, and only accept it when it is proved true.

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    1. That's great! And look at that, McKay and K. :)

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  3. They were so amazingly sweet to you! Good for you. You deserve it, Kelly. You've worked so hard. I've been blessed to visit a middle school, where the kiddos welcomed me even without a book out. I freelance. I was then invited to host a few young writer's workshops. I can't say enough about what that did for me as a writer, but also as a person.

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    1. Working with the kids and helping them with their writing is amazing! This school asked me to return in the spring to do just that. I'm so excited!

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  4. What a good experience to have! If we're lucky, we have at least one teacher at some point who does that for us.

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    1. Yes, if we're lucky. I wish everyone had this experience.

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  5. What a cool follow up. I have teachers who've impacted me similarly. It's such an important role.

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    1. It is. I hope I was half the teacher Dr. McKay was to me.

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  6. What a fantastic and fitting compliment to you, Kelly! And a perfect example of 'paying it forward', no wonder Dr. McKay is so proud of you. :-)

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    1. It meant the world to me to hear him say he was proud of me.

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  7. Recognizing folks who have been inspirational in our lives is a very thoughtful thing to do. How sad it would be to never know that you had an impact on another's path. Truly wonderful!

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    1. Yes, that's why we should take the time to tell them.

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  8. What a terrific surprise, Kelly. I didn't have a teacher who influenced me that way--others, yes-but not a teacher. I'm sure Dr. McKay was equally pleased to learn how he influenced your life.

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  9. You made me tear all up! Such a neat thing to share. Just from his pic, he looks like he'd be an awesome teacher, one of those that make the classroom fun. I'm glad it was such a neat visit for you!

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    1. He did make learning fun. I loved his class.

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  10. What a sweet post! I love that you got to reconnect with a favorite teacher. He sounds very inspiring and he must have been so proud of you! How cool that a former English teacher got to have one of his students present to his new students as an author. Awesome!
    ~Jess

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    1. It was definitely one of my favorite author experiences so far. :)

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  11. What a wonderful story! How exciting that you got to see him again. Two teachers, one middle and one high, inspired me to write with their lessons. Another middle school teacher made me into a bookworm by lending me books. Teachers impact lives so much.

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    1. They really do. I wish they'd get more credit for what they do.

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  12. that was really touching to read about meeting up with Dr McKay, you made me tear up as well, having those people in your life who just go all out to support you and cheer you on and be proud of you. what a great wednesday!

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    1. I wish the world was full of people like them. :)

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  13. Wow, what an experience, and how precious to have your favourite teacher remember you!

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