Teaching is one of the noblest of professions. It requires an adequate preparation and training, patience, devotion, and a deep sense of responsibility. Those who mold the human mind have wrought not for time, but for eternity.
CALVIN COOLIDGE, speech, July 4, 1924

We were reminded of this quote when reading the following letter from Start High School graduate Emilio Chagolla about a teacher who made a difference in his life.

Hello, this is Emilio Chagolla. I graduated from Start High School in 2009. During my high school years my wife (girlfriend of 3 years then) and I were having our first child. I was going to drop out and begin full time work to support my family. 

One of your teachers, Ms. Michelle Williams, is the leading cause of me being a diploma holder as I finished school and walked with my class because of her.

She was a major support system for my wife and I through the struggle of being high school parents. She helped when it came to being on maternity/paternity leave, getting our assignments from other teachers and any tests we had rescheduled. She is an amazing time model for any student that has the opportunity to learn from her. If she is teaching when my kids reach their teens, I will send them to the school she is at just to have her. She does her job well.

I am now a Sergeant in the United States Army Cavalry. I wouldn't have been able to make it here had she not supported and guided me through the last year of my high school career. She was outstanding and I'm upset that I only got one year with her. I hope she is recognized for the job she does.

Now, I bet you're wondering why I'm even writing this email to you. I have been deployed 3 times. I've seen war, and have lived the fight. On my last tour things were bad and I almost didn't make it back home to my family. But I did. By doing so, I brought 13 other men home to their loved ones. When I got home I began to think about what made it possible? What events in my life led me to be successful in that situation and made it possible for those men to come home?

After searching my heart I believe it was her. It's like the butterfly effect. If you go back in history and change the smallest event, it leads to a domino effect that changes all of history there after. Her being who she is and getting me through the hardest time of my life (then) led me to being qualified for my Army career and preparing me to be the leader that I have become. Please share my story with her so she knows that her work led to my success.

Michelle Williams, an English teacher, has been with TPS since 2003 and is still at Start High School.

Posted on November 27, 2015