180 days of learning

180 days of learning

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The Impact of One Teacher

April 17, 2013

Last week, a young man came into the office at Riverside Intermediate School.  He brought in the largest flower arrangement that I have seen outside flowers for a funeral.  He asked for Mrs. Dennis, I thought.  His English was a bit suspect for my understanding.  He came to Riverside to give these flowers to Mrs. Terri Dennie.  (I thought he was a flower delivery person, although I thought he looked familiar.)

Mrs. Dennie had just left for lunch and was precicted to return in approximately 15-20 minutes.  He was invited to come back or wait for her return.  He made the decision to wait for her return.  When Mrs. Dennie returned she was asked to come to the office.  The young man immediately asked her if she remembered him.  He reminded Mrs. Dennie that his name was Joel; he was a 5th grade student of hers 12 years ago at Menominee Elementary.

Mrs. Dennie did remember Joel.  Joel had come to her speaking little to no Enlgish.  He said he came to see Mrs. Dennie to bring her flowers to thank her for believing in him and helping him all those years ago.  With tears in his eyes and tears in Mrs. Dennie’s eyes he shared what he was doing now.  Many of us in the office witnessed this reunion between a teacher and a former student.  What a moment!

Joel shared with Mrs. Dennie…

Joel had left Plymouth when he was a Lincoln Jr. High student as his family moved to Florida.  He recently graduated from Berkley.  He is now 22 years old and teaches Salsa and teaches young people to dance.  He encourages young students to work hard and reach their fullest potential.  Joel has danced with famous people such as Jenifer Lopez.  He shared with Mrs. Dennie that when he first came to the United States he really wanted to know what they were saying on the American TV.  This motivated him to the English language.  His commitment and the encouragement from others has driven him to accomplish quite a bit.  He explained that his mother believed in him.  He brought the flowers to Mrs. Dennie to THANK her for also believing in him.


I met with Mrs. Dennie after school.  This event made her day.  As an educator as well as on a personal level, this was a beautiful moment.  This, and others like it, is why we continue to do what we do.  What a GREAT day!

Jeni Hirschy Principal of Riverside Intermediate School


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What an amazing and heartwarming moment! Thank you so much for sharing such an inspiring moment!

Mrs. Uyhelji

April 17, 2013

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. You are an inspiration to others, Mrs. Dennie!

Mrs. Cooper's Class

April 20, 2013

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