Student Nomination Story

Jacob was a child who survived being drug exposure even before birth. He was abandoned at a gas station at the age of two and was placed into the state’s custody. His suffering did not end there unfortunately. Jacob was placed in a foster home with six older foster kids where he spend almost an entire year enduring physical and mental abuse. On February 18th, 2014 Jacob's current foster home was shut down by the state and he became an emergency placement into what would be his forever home. Upon Jacob's arrival, it did not take very long to see that this three year old had completely shut down and his survival instincts had kicked in. He had completely stopped speaking and would spend hours hiding behind anything he could. He would hide food in the house afraid there would be no food for him at a later time. It took years before he was able ride in the car with out throwing up due to his anxiety of not knowing where he was going and why. As a foster mother I put him in private schools to try to help with his delayed development and I even paid for him to attend LSU academic summer camps. When Jacob started kindergarten I chose to place him in public school so that he could learn how to cope to the things around him. We spent most of our year in the office trying to work out behavior issues and this continued even until second grade where he was suspended from school. As a mother I felt helpless! I had researched so many different ways I could try to help him let down his guard and trust people and by doing this he would be willing to allow teachers to teach him and leaders to encourage him. He was always so angry! At the start of this year when he began 3rd grade I tried my best to encourage him to make friends and trust that his teachers are there to help him and not hurt him but in the end I knew it would be the type of teacher the he received that would either continue this cycle of him or break it. As the weeks went on in his new grade with his new teacher I could see there was something different in Jacob. He would come home talking about his day and how much he learned and how much fun he had learning it all. I wasn’t getting any negative behavior notes at all so I knew something had changed him for the better! It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I truly grasped the impact this teacher had made on my son. On this one particular day Jacob came running in the door from school so excited to tell me about parts of a movie his teacher had played for them at school. The movie was Soul Surfer! But it did not just stop there, he went on to tell me how the teacher asked the students questions and the entire class was engaged in conversation about this movie. I was excited to see the joy on his face and the eagerness to tell me all about it! A few days after that he asked me out of the blue if I wouldn’t mind getting that movie for him so of course I did. I asked him what his thoughts were around this moment in his class room and his answer was proof that this was the pivotal point in his life! He told me that so many people in this world are faced with what seems like impossible challenges in life. Some are born with them and some just happened but nothing can stop a person from doing what they desire in their heart and not only does he want to be a better person at school and at home but he wants to help others in life. I didn’t even know what to say! This teacher has not only opened his mind to allow him to grow academically but she’s changed his life and my life forever! She does not have to spend the time that she does investing in them as future leaders and engaging in these life changing conversations the way she does but I am forever grateful for going the extra mile in a public school! My son’s grades have never been better and he’s excited to learn but most of all she has brought joy, hope and confidence to a little boy who’s life will never be the same because of her!

Jacob Elmore

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.