In the fall of 2012, I was assigned to work with one of my 8th-grade students on home instruction while she would be absent. This wasn’t the first or last home instruction position that I would have, but it was a position that would change my life. Little did I know at the time, how much my life would be affected by working with Hannah. A few hours at Hannah’s dining room table turned into days, turned into weeks, turned into months.
The time I spent with Hannah is something that I will never forget. We both experienced every emotion you can imagine trying to cram a week’s worth of work into a few hours- anger, frustration, and probably most of all laughter! Even at her lowest points, she worked hard and had a great sense of humor! She laughed with me and at me especially as we tried to tackle 8th-grade science! Hannah’s reaction at my trick to remember that the Atomic Symbol for Gold is AU is something that Sue and I still laugh over!
Hannah’s fighting spirit and passion for life were felt by everyone who met her, and the bond that I formed with Hannah and her family is something I will always treasure.
Sue’s comments: I’ve always said that people come in and out each other’s lives for a reason or a season. For us, what started out as a teacher/student relationship turned into so much more over the course of Hannah’s 8th grade year. Kelly was with Hannah during some of the best moments of her life (the picture of the two of them was at the 8th grade dance, and Hannah was SO happy to be there with all of her friends) as well as many of the tougher moments – there were many days where Hannah didn’t have the strength to do the required schoolwork but somehow they made it work and while there were plenty of tears, there was also so much laughter too. I remember one day being in the kitchen and hearing the two of them hysterical laughing in the dining room. Kelly had all sorts of tricks to remember those crazy scientific symbols and the trick she had for Gold (AU) was pretty funny…they were yelling “AU” (sounds like ‘Hey You’) at each other and were just laughing and laughing. It’s such a sweet memory and for sure Hannah never forgot that symbol!
A few years later when we started the tradition to have a special Christmas tree we’ve called “Hannah’s Tree’ filled with ornaments from friends & loved ones, Kelly gifted us an ornament that has become one of my favorites. I chuckle every year when I unwrap it to put it on the tree!
From teacher to family, that’s the legacy that Hannah left for us….