Matthew Dunaway AUG 2017 · 205-705-3590

August 2017

TEACHERS AND MENTORS Those Who Guide Us Through Life

My kids are preparing to go back to school, and that got me thinking about teachers. I’ve had many extraordinary instructors, but there are a few who really stand out. My kindergarten teacher, Ms. Sherry, is one awesome educator. She also happened to be my Sunday school teacher for many years, and I believe I owe a lot of my academic integrity to her. She pushed us intellectually and was a wonderful influence as I began my education. In third and fourth grade, I had another wonderful teacher, Ms. Varner. I remember she was super nice, but she also had an air of authority about her. You didn’t misbehave in her class. Ms. Varner helped kick-start my love of reading by introducing me to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” You could tell she really cared about each of her students, and I have fond memories of her. In college, I met a number of excellent teachers, but my favorite would be Professor DiOrio, my Latin teacher. She had a Ph.D. in classics, spoke Greek and Latin, and was an expert in her field. I went to Auburn University, which isn’t necessarily known for its classics department. I took three years of Latin, and by my second year, there were only five people in the class. Professor DiOrio knew none of us were going to pursue a Ph.D. in the classics, but she still cared about what we studied and was an effective teacher. She held us accountable and

year). Instead, Coach Webster was always concerned about his players’ grades. For the guys who were having a tough time, he did what he could to ensure they finished high school. And as for the guys he knew would be going on to college, he never let us mess around like 18-year-old boys tend to do. I know Coach Webster did a lot to help us, as much as any academic teacher in my life. I believe it’s important to find good mentors and teachers, and it’s equally important to be good mentors and teachers. I don’t mean we should all coach high school football or teach Latin. But we do have opportunities to mentor and support others at church, in our careers, and even in the ballpark. We owe it to the mentors and teachers who had a positive impact on our lives to be the same for another person, if possible.

I believe it’s important to find good mentors and teachers, and it’s equally important to be good mentors and teachers.

encouraged us to work hard. In return, she worked just as hard as our teacher.

It’s not just my academic teachers I’m grateful for. In high school, my football coach was as gruff and old-school as a coach could be. Coach Webster was a little rough around the edges, but he cared a great deal about his players. To him, his job wasn’t to turn us into the next great NFL stars (though we did win the state championships my junior

– Matt Dunaway

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