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Judy Peck

I've been spending some time in the company of teachers lately, most recently last evening. I suspect both Bonnie and Bev were fantastic teachers, even if they did teach science, a subject I hate ! Both of them are filled with curiosity, which I'm thinking must be one of the main characteristics of a great teacher. Their enthusiasm is infectious, if you will.

Another teacher I've know for far longer is my sister-in-law Judy Peck. During my second year of x-ray school I lived with her and my brother-in-law Cris. Can you imagine that kindness? A brand new college graduate,  her first job teaching was at, what was even back then a very iffy junior high--Robinswood. As I recall, the whole teaching thing scared her, especially because she spent her life in all Catholic schools with, as everyone knows, very strict discipline. She adjusted and thrived, never losing her curiosity, or regretting her decision to spend her life improving students lives. Although I've battled the squirrels around here, I still find them interesting. This squirrel's, "in your face" look reminds me a little bit of Judy:
Kind of like, "I dare you not to learn in this class!" Not to mention how industrious squirrels are.

Another animal that comes to mind thinking of Judy is a cat, not only because she loves them, but also because they can sneak up on, grabbing your affection before you know it.
Plus they are soft to the touch, and although Judy has never been afraid to give students the grade they earned, she is still a bit of a soft touch! Furthermore, most any former student of hers I've ever talked to, and there are plenty, (this is still a small town!), talks about how funny she is. You know how some people have a laugh that just makes you feel good? That's Judy! Through GEICO commercials we've all come to think of this little guy as funny:
Then too, her mission has always been to give her students wings to fly:
Like this blossom from a lemon tree over in Eric's garden, she leaves a fragrance that is not easily forgotten. Soon this lovely bloom will turn into a lemon, which in itself is pretty darn amazing when you think about it. Judy has been turning lackadaisical students into super stars for so many years now it's really remarkable. Throughout 41 years of teaching she has left her mark on more students than you can count.
By now, I'm sure my curious readers are wondering what the heck does she teach? Wonder no more! Currently she's teaching Advanced Placement English at Winter Springs High School. If you live in Florida you've heard of the FCAT and all the problems with students passing this statewide test. Not so Judy's students--the sheer force of her will probably MAKES them pass! Spending countless hours working with students making the yearbook and the school newspaper, it's easy to imagine some of them going on to become journalists and writers.

I'll never forget the time a young man, upon learning we were related, told me that although he earned a D in Mrs. Peck 's class, she was his favorite teacher. Can you imagine? And so it is that the entire Senior class at Winter Springs High just voted Judy "their favorite teacher." Very exciting indeed!

As reliable as the azalea blossoms, which return year after year, she keeps on teaching.
Here's to all the great teachers in the world--those you remember fondly, like Judy, who left an indelible mark on your life!

Speaking of the Peck family, if you'd like to know how my son Matthew takes photographs, have a look at these from his India trip. When there are a large bunch, I love to watch them as a slideshow.

 Happy Friday!
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