I have been thinking quite a bit about impact this week. My sister retires today after 43 years of teaching high school English. She had a major impact on my life. Helen took me to the library when I was 5 years old and got me my first library card. It opened up an entire world to me. I was able to haul home armfuls of books that I never would have had access to or sit on the floor in the children’s reading room for hours at a time with piles of books around me, looking at each one in turn. She influenced my decision to finally become a teacher as my first career. I could never match her in the classroom and didn’t really try. She has inspired a number of her students to also become teachers and continues to hear from them years after they graduated from high school. Over the last decade or so, at least, she has taught second generations of families and she has taught entire families over the years. I know that she will be missed at Lindbergh but her legacy will carry on.
This week also marked the 40th anniversary of Title IX. This law made it possible for me to participate in sports in high school, even though I was never really very good. I was out there and had a chance to compete on the track team. I know a number of women who were able to go to college on athletic scholarships. Some of them probably would not have been able to afford college otherwise. At The University of Alabama we have just celebrated the third National Championship by a women’s team this year: gymnastics, golf and softball. The women on these teams and their coaches are inpirational in their dedication and hard work to achieve excellence in their sport and very often in the classroom as well. We have many individual female athletes at UA who also excel both on and off the field.
As I sit on a plane to Anaheim for ALA, I think about the impact of the changes I have made in my own life. I watch people struggle in and out of seats and know that is where I was a few years ago. I no longer haul a CPAP machine or a bunch of medications. I walked between the terminals in Atlanta rather than waiting for a train. I will not have to struggle with walking through the convention center or to and from meetings.
My battery is running out on my computer so I need to wrap this up for the moment. I’ll be back soon.