After sixth grade, I made the decision to switch schools. During and after the transfer, Mrs. Anderson was there for me. I encountered a class that enjoyed joking around. It took time to get used to it. I was picked on for the duration of that time. Mrs. Anderson was the principal at the school I transferred to, and she was the key person that made my transfer easier.
In the early times of my transfer, I had anxiety about fire drills. After lunch one day, she asked, “Is there anything that you are worried about at all?”
I responded reluctantly, “Yes, fire drills.”
She told me when the next fire drill was and what time it was going to happen. At first, I was worried about the fire drill, but once it was over, I got over the fear and I was able to return to working hard in school. This lesson stayed with me through high school and will stay with me for decades. I learned how important facing your fears is and have done this multiple times before. This included when we went to the seminary in Milwaukee and went up a shaky flight of stairs. I have been able to implement this lesson into my life in multiple applications.
After two or three weeks, I started to get picked on. I had thoughts of suicide and people started to get worried about me and my mental state. She had called me into her office to go through what was going on. I mentioned the people that were picking on me, and she did everything she could to make the situation right. Luckily for me, what she had done was helping more and more.
One of the systems I had with her and one of the other teachers were some cards I could drop outside of her door when I was not feeling particularly good about myself. This creativity allowed me to feel like I belonged to the school and I just did not go there.
In eighth grade, Grandma Jan passed away. She was 74 years old, and one of the most meaningful people to me. So, when she passed, it was difficult to accept for my entire family. During this hard time, Mrs. Anderson allowed me in her office for multiple periods at times consoling me and just allowing me to relax.
Mrs. Anderson was the most impactful person during grade school. She allowed me to express my feelings and get them out so that it did not affect me. She was concerned for my safety especially when I was having thoughts about suicide. Mrs. Anderson is now the principal at Catholic Memorial and doing quite well, as I hear from others that go there.
Thank you, Mrs. Anderson, for everything that you did for me. I will never forget you.