• Jake shared a letter in the Group logo of Chasing Your DreamsChasing Your Dreams group 1 week, 6 days ago


    Mentor: what do the last three syllables of that sound like? TOUR, a guide, and in the word MENtor, it’s MEN who are guided along for the tour of life: not literal men, people.

    I remember it like it was yesterday, the place, middle school, the time, 2009, I was only 11 but, oh, I hear that rhythmic bell blasting right now;

    it was the very first day of sixth grade when That final bell rang, it was time to go home!

    I had an aide whose job was to help me with everything I needed. We walked downstairs, she at my side, making sure I did not get clobbered by all the rascals passing by me. We ended up “in the clear”. What came next was clear as day, forever seared into my memory…

    “I learned more from you in one day than you can ever teach me,” she said. Her name? Ms. Rossi, and at the time. I remember thinking whoever this Ross guy is, (her boyfriend) he is a lucky man, and he eventually put a ring on it!

    Anyway, excuse my diversion, As I was saying.. that compliment meant and still means something that even a Picasso painting can explain and anytime I need a jolt of motivational coffee, I envision my 11-year-old self hearing that endearing comment and smiling ear to ear; however, that statement, “I learned more from you in one day than you can ever teach me,” could not have been further from the truth!

    A couple of days went by, and my mom’s best friend, a second mother to me, and my Occupational therapist, (OT) came into school for what seemed like an eternity! She taught me how to properly sit in this “special” blue and red chair.

    Ms. Rossi did not blink an eye, as she was swallowing it all the instructions given to her up. As for me, I was swallowing it all up, then regurgitating it all right back out. Hey, can you blame me? My OT has a strong tone and after all, she is like my second mother.

    I sat there like a flight attendant and only moved when my OT told me to.

    She was the one who taught me how to do my daily activities in life which I was ignorant of and would have rather watched paint dry.

    When my OT left, I took a deep breath of thank goodness this is over. Then, I remember taking one more breath – this time with excitement because Ms. Rossi whispered in my ear, “I promise you, I will NEVER be as hard on you as she was.”

    Let’s just say, it was Ms. Rossi that did not remind me to take my binder to the next class and forced me to go back to retrieve it. That boy who thought her boyfriend was lucky to have her, now saw a different side, a fierce side.

    I must say that if we played the Newlywed game, she would know every answer before the questions were asked.

    I vividly remember having a gag reflex, and she could tell if it was an itch on my back or because I failed a test; It was like she could see into the future. one day, I was in class without a care in the world and thinking I was disrespected by my other teachers by them not having the same expectations Ms. Rossi did! she whispered in my ear, saying “I know YOU don’t want to have an aide and want to go to college: I don’t want to be an aide; I want to be a Headteacher.

    it turns out that that whisper spoke as loudly as anything I’ve heard in my entire life, Propelling me to ignore all the whispers about me not being able to succeed, and not only getting an undergraduate degree but in turn, a masters degree.

    As for the now Mrs. Candel, she has two children, she is a Headteacher and yes, it is at that same school, teaching english and social studies.

    All I know, whatever lesson plans she has for her students, nothing will EVER compare to the LESSONS she TAUGHT ME!

    Photo Credit: MenTOR

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