October 19th, 2010
05:34 PM ET

Readers seize the #BeAHero challenge for teachers

A barrel of gold stars to all who participated in today’s "Be A Hero" challenge for teachers.

We asked you to celebrate a public school teacher who has made a difference in your life - and boy, did you deliver.

In comments on CNN.com and Twittter, readers sent teacher shout-outs reverberating throughout the country, from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, to Irving, Texas, and Lancaster, California.

“It's one thing to remember a specific lesson days or months later, but almost 3 decades? Thanks to Mr. Damewood and Mr. Patterson in 1982-1983, I can still recount the chain of events that started WWI,” reader kim wrote. “Mr. Damewood and Mr. Patterson of Vines High School in Plano Texas acted out the entire assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand … I also recall Mr. Damewood leading us in a chorus of God Bless America but changed it to "Mesopotamia – land that I love … stand beside her and guide her..’ "

Several of you were inspired by role models to become teachers yourselves:

History teacher Buffy Bowe credited her career – and an early interest in presidential politics - to fifth-grade teacher John Fleming in St. Ignatius, Montana.

“Because of him, I actually paid attention to the 1988 Presidential Election and knew what was going on (as a 5th grader),” Bowe wrote.

JJ Velasquez, a high school physics teacher, said he was a scared fifth-grader when he entered Mains Elementary in Calexico, California, an “immigrant kid” who didn’t know English. But Mr. Pangle “saw our strengths and potential when others might have seen our limitations.”

We heard from lots of parents like Chrisa Hickey in Valley Center, California, who is grateful for the teacher who gave her child a bright start. She thanked Mary-Anne Setticase, a first- and second-grade special education teacher at Valley Center Primary School in California, who taught her son for two years.

“Tim has Schizoaffective Disorder, which, if you're a special education teacher, means a child easily agitated, prone to rage, hallucinations, paranoia and delusions,” Hickey wrote. “But not with Mrs. Setticase. She did more than teach my son reading and how to behave in class. She taught him that he is NOT his disability, and that he is special because he's different, not in spite of it.”

If there was any doubt, it is clear that any teacher can make a profound difference in a child’s life, whether the subject is preschool, art, algebra, special education or English as a second language.

@tiger_lily_girl summed it up: "Thank you Mrs. Beverly Morris for being one of the only teachers at SMW who believed in me. PS I still love math. :)"

Teachers everywhere, thank you! And kudos to all of you. Check back tomorrow for the next challenge.

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  1. .

    quick, everyone be an hero as quickly as possible

    October 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |