Mrs. Addie (Woodruff) Wilson passed away two years ago on January 6th, 2015. The following is my “Letter To The Editor” which I wrote after attending Mrs. Woodruff’s funeral on January 10th, 2015. At Athens State University, a new semester has begun. Many of our students are studying to be teachers. For them, it’s important that they remember how important the profession is that they are pursuing. For current teachers, it’s important that they remember why they are doing what they do. A teacher has the ability to affect a child for the rest of their life. The following is a good example of this. For all of my teachers, I am grateful.
Athens, Ala. – On Saturday, January 10th, I attended the funeral of my kindergarten teacher from Athens Elementary, Mrs. Addie (Woodruff) Wilson. As I sat in the services, I couldn’t help but reflect back to a 5-year-old boy, crying at the classroom door on his first day of school, who grew to love his kindergarten teacher. As my teacher, Mrs. Woodruff was kind, understanding, and patient.
All three of these qualities were just what I needed at a turbulent time in my young life. In my years at Athens Elementary School, I found these qualities in many of those who worked there. There were many outstanding influences at Athens Elementary School. It was a wonderful place for a young student to learn and grow.
I was blessed to have such a caring principal as Mr. Brett and caring teachers like Mrs. Woodruff, Mrs. Thornton, Ms. McFarland, Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Poole, Mrs. Garrett, and many others during my time at Athens Elementary School. At 35, I still think about the many great people who worked at Athens Elementary this many years later.
All of them were not teachers, some of them were support staff such as the janitors, lunchroom personnel, and the people in the front office.
There’s a saying that goes like this, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I hope this serves as a reminder to those who work in our schools how important you are. How you make the children feel will carry on throughout their lives. No matter your position in the school, you can be a powerful influence for good.
I’m grateful for people like Mrs. Woodruff and so many others like her who have had a significant impact on my life. They are very special to me.