Shuttlesworth Law Firm, LLC - May 2020

THE SHUTTLESWORTH SENTINEL

201 Vulcan Road, Suite 210 Birmingham, AL 35209 (205) 322-1411 ShuttlesworthLasseter.com

Personal Injury Product Liability Wrongful Death

Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect Assisted Living Abuse/Neglect

05 .2020

GUIDING ME THE EXTRA MILE HOW GREAT TEACHERS CAN CHANGE LIVES

In light of everything going on in the world right now, I’m sure a lot of us feel like we could use a little guidance. In truth, even in the course of our normal daily lives as we try our best to discern what the next steps toward our future should be, we sometimes feel like we need mentorship. May 5 is National Teacher Day, which is a day to celebrate all of the amazing teachers, professors, and mentors who have impacted us for the better. For me, the mentor who most impacted me was a professor I had during my undergraduate studies, Gene Marsh. Gene was a law professor, but he taught some classes in the business school at the University of Alabama. I was studying investment management and corporate finance, so I got to know him through taking some of his classes. He was also inducted into the Senior Men’s Honor Society as a faculty member at the time I was president of that group. Through our multiple connections, we became friends. While I was a good student, I wasn’t always the best about actually showing up for Gene’s class. He was weirdly okay with it, though, because I was still keeping my grades up. He liked to jokingly refer to me as the “traveling Latin scholar” (I was taking Latin during that time as well) whenever I did decide to come to class. Beyond our interactions in the classroom, however, Gene was aware of my precarious family situation. Because of my rough upbringing, I was basically on my own in college. Knowing that, both Gene and his wife went above and beyond in making sure I held my life together. “WE DROVE NINE HOURS TOGETHER UP TO LEXINGTON, AND VISITED THE CAMPUS TOGETHER. HE FOOTED THE BILL FOR THE WHOLE TRIP, INCLUDING THE FEE TO RESERVE MY PLACE FOR MY CLASSES. OVERALL, HE WENT WELL BEYOND WHAT WAS REQUIRED OF HIM JUST TO HELP ME SUCCEED.”

For most of my time as an undergrad, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I didn’t know whether I wanted to

go for an MBA or a law degree. Perhaps not surprisingly, Gene encouraged me to go to law school. He told me that if I got accepted to the University of Alabama’s law school, he would hire me as his research assistant. At the same time, he encouraged me to check out Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Both Gene and his wife had gone there, and they had loved the school, the town, their professors, and the natural beauty that surrounded it all. When I applied, he wrote me a letter of recommendation, and I later received my acceptance letter. Not long after that, Gene showed up at my front door to congratulate me on my acceptance. Then, he asked me when we were going to visit the campus. I wasn’t planning on visiting the campus with him, so this caught me off guard. Gene explained that he wanted to show me around personally, as well as introduce me to some of the faculty he knew at Washington and Lee. So, we drove nine hours together up to Lexington, and visited the campus together. He footed the bill for the whole trip, including the fee to reserve my place for my classes. Overall, he went well beyond what was required of him just to help me succeed. When a lot of people think about teachers, they just think about the people who stood at the front of the classroom and taught them how to use the Pythagorean theorem or read Shakespeare. But teachers have the opportunity to take an interest in the lives of their students beyond the walls of their classroom. I don’t know where I would be today without Gene’s guidance and instruction. Just the fact that he believed in me and encouraged me to follow my dreams did so much. It changed my life, and that’s what the best teachers in the world do every day.

–Perry Shuttlesworth

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www.shuttlesworthlasseter.com

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