Ms. Wilson made science class so much more approachable to me. I wasn't struggling academically, rather I was struggling mentally. Ms. Wilson was one of (and still is) my favorite people because she could handle me and do it with kindness and compassion. There was one time where I was upset because I really didn't feel confident in myself in gym class. I stopped by her room, and she just sat there with me and talked to me and helped me feel better. I think that when she walked with me to talk to the gym teacher, that that was going above and beyond. She advocated for me that day, and that meant the world to me, because at that time, I thought nobody cared. She showed me tough love sometimes, and she was the only one that could pull that off with me. The day after that gym class, I found a note at my desk, which I still have 3 years later. It reads:
Since you are reading this, today is a good day! Today's goal - smile for no reason other than it's Thursday. Pick something that makes you feel good about being you (playing viola, coming to science, getting a smile from me, something positive) and hold on to that feeling. Keep it close and fresh in your mind so that you can bring it out when you need it. Be strong Abby :) Make good choices.
- Ms. Wilson
It was only a small note, but the impact it has had on me cannot be measured. Even today, when I'm not feeling great, I take it out and read it. Knowing that somebody cared enough to take some of their time when they could've been doing something else to write this for me....the thought of it actually makes me cry, because then I was so used to not feeling cared about. I actually have read it so much, I have it memorized. And she's so humble about it too. When I brought it up when I visited her, she said she didn't even remember it. Well, Ms. Wilson, I remember it. I will never forget it. The care and compassion you showed me in eighth grade...I just wish I saw you everyday.
In eighth grade, I was bulimic (which I no longer am :) ). Sometimes I would stop by her classroom to talk to her about whatever, and the cafeteria was down the hall. She would either watch me go to the cafeteria herself to make sure I didn't throw up, or she would tell another student to walk with me and that if I went in the bathroom to come and get her. A couple of times I went into the bathroom and sure enough she came down the hallway.
I really cannot explain how much she has helped my recovery in general. I mean, recovery from any mental illness is extremely difficult, but she just made it that much easier for me. The part of myself that I didn't care about - which at that time was most of me - she cared about until I could again.
She deserves this award, hands down. It may seem like she didn't do much, but seeing her everyday and just laughing with her when kids were dumb (this one kid poured glue on the table) always cheered me up. When I was hospitalized in ninth grade, the first night was made a little less scary and a little less lonely by her note.
She also was just a great teacher. Some of the topics we learned about actually interested me. Although, honestly they don't anymore, it helped me learn things about myself such as the way I learn best. She was a fair, tough grader. Generally, when I hate a teacher's grading, the better is actually is for me. Man, I hated her grading. But she pushed me, and even though I probably won't major in environmental science, she taught me skills that I would need later on (For example, the scrapbook taught me the hard way not to throw away old papers for good until the end of the school year).
The bottom line is that Ms. Wilson believed in me when I thought nobody else did, and I believed her just because she was so down to earth and straightforward. She has helped way past eighth grade, and I think that this award is me telling her, "Hey, I haven't forgotten what you did for me. I'll never forget. Your words meant so much to me. Thank you."