unsuspecting news.

fourth grade was a really good year for me.

well, it held its struggles, too — i was an awful math student and had to get extra help with money and long division almost everyday.

i was so incredibly fortunate to have ms. lana siefring as my fourth grade teacher.

she was always so willing to help me with my math, and with anything else. i could talk to her about my incessant love for ryan proco, the classroom heartthrob, and she always knew how to explain things to me in the most perfect way so i understood every ounce of anything.

i recall how wonderfully artistic her classroom was in the world of weddington hills elementary. she had posters drawn up for everything — her talents were outstanding. it would always make everyone smile when she would draw a fun picture on the whiteboard to illustrate our day’s events.

my dad used to come and eat lunch with me about every week or so when he could, and ms. siefring would always let dad come into the class after lunch and play simon says with us. those times were so simple, so elementary.

what is not elementary is the fact that ms. siefring got breast cancer after my year of being in the fourth grade.

she struggled and my friend kyle and i visited her as much as we could, our schedules permitting. visiting her has always been such a joy, and i’m pretty sure i could spend hours after hours with her in her office…actually, i usually do that when i visit her anyway.

ms. siefring just found out she has bone cancer.

upon hearing the news, i felt my chest get tight and my face burn. my head, clouding. my body, shaking.

not again.

i don’t really fully comprehend cancer — not that anyone truly does.

she’s the reason i want to teach elementary school. i think i can honestly say that she left the strongest impression on me as an educator in all my years of public education, both in north carolina and ohio, and for that i am ever so grateful. her compassion and willingness to teach wholeheartedly is absolutely inspirational. she cultivated my passion for learning, and i want to do that to children one day, too.

a lasting impact. a legacy.

i want to help a child the way she helped me. i want to be strong for her right now. now, more than anything, i want to get into the school of education and carry on the excitement she awakened within me eleven years ago.

fourth grade was my favorite year in elementary school. i want to make fourth grade someone else’s favorite year in elementary school, too.

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