Winston & Damman August 2018

On Your Side (810) 966-WINS (9467)

August 2018

Unwavering Support 4 Teachers With an Outsize Impact on My Life

A s the stores stock up on binders of every imaginable color and the kids finally start to get bored of summer, back-to-school season is fast approaching. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my own teachers and mentors who steered me in the right direction along the long path to where I am today. I feel lucky to have been around some pretty incredible people at every stage of my life, and this seems like a good time to reflect on a few of them, offering a small token of recognition for all they’ve done for me over the years. In my school days, I was always an overachiever, eager to involve myself in the school community. I guess a teacher or two picked up on my drive and took a personal interest in me. I had one teacher, Mrs. Lucio, who was also the advisor for the student council, of which I was a member. Over the first semester of the school year, we talked a lot and eventually became friends. Her husband was the assistant principal, and one day — probably running some errand for the student council — I ended up in his office, and we became friends too. From then on, I could always turn to the both of them for anything I needed. When times got tough, they were there to listen and offer sage advice, a precious resource for any 13-year-old still figuring things out. They embodied the very definition of integrity and always knew the right thing to do in any situation, even if it wasn’t

what I wanted to hear. In return, I became a kind of intermediary between the student body and Mr. Lucio. If something was going on with the students, he’d call me in and ask, “What’s going on? What’s the issue? And how can we help?” It was a level of mutual trust and support that was invaluable at that age. Even now, we keep in touch, and they continue to offer support and conversation when I need it.

useful perspective, honed from years on the front lines of education. I was one of those kids who actually liked school growing up, but of course, it wasn’t always easy. Junior high and high school are challenging times for any kid, full of changes and new responsibilities. But with Mr. and Mrs. Lucio and later the Haddens as sounding boards, I was privileged to have an amazing group of people in my corner every step of the way. Though life may not always be sunshine and rainbows, with the guidance, trust, and encouragement of people who genuinely care about us, everything becomes that much more manageable.

After my family and I moved to Michigan and I headed to high school, I connected with another assistant principal and his wife, funnily enough. Tom Hadden and I started chatting while I was his student aide in the office and struck up a friendship that continues to this day. Even back then, he was always real with me, which isn’t always the case with adults when you’re a kid. Now that I’m grown up and on the school board for the Marysville School District where he used to work, he and his wife are close family friends. While we don’t see each other as much as we probably should, we drop each other a line pretty regularly just to check in and share what’s going on in our lives. If ever I’m confused about a school board policy or decision, I’ll call Tom up and ask him about it — he always has a

–Nicole Winston

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