This weeks submission comes from my lovely and very talented sister, Kira. She writes:
My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Caywood, was a huge influence on my life. At the time I didn't see how important her influence was but now as I look back I am so grateful for her. In sixth grade my best friends were part of the "in crowd" and we were all in the same class.
On one particular day we were watching a movie. It was about Egypt-- pyramids, mummys---I still remember. During the movie my friends starting acting up a little by dancing like Egyptians. You know the dance, head turned, hands pointing to the side...very silly. Like most sixth graders would do, I gave in to the peer pressure and joined in with them. We were getting a lot of attention and disrupting the movie. Mrs. Caywood asked us several times to stop and then finally pulled us out and sat us by her desk. She said she wanted to take us outside and speak with us individually; she saved me for last. Mrs. Caywood told me that she was disappointed in me because I knew better. She then expressed genuine concern for me and told me that I had so much potential but my friends were dragging me down. Mrs. Caywood had been teaching for years and knew the exact direction my friends were headed. She encouraged me to make new friends. My punishment, rather than detention or a call to my parents, was a new seat assignment. Mrs. Caywood sat me next to a different group of girls and encouraged me to become friends with them. At the time I was upset at her for butting into my personal life and for moving me away from my friends, but as a little time passed I became really close with the group of girls she sat me with and I was grateful she introduced me to them.
It wasn't until high school that I became truly grateful for Mrs. Caywood. The girls that I had been friends with went down all the wrong paths--drinking and drugs, teen pregnancy, some even dropped out and were kicked out of high school. Good thing I stopped hanging out with them.
Now that my high school days are behind me I realize just how important your high school friends are. They have so much influence on the person you become. I am so grateful Mrs. Caywood took a genuine interest in my life. I am grateful she cared about me enough to introduce me to friends who would be a positive influence and who would help me reach my full potential. Thank you Mrs. Caywood.