When I was in 1st grade I was enrolled in St. Paul’s Lutheran school. I don’t remember a lot but I remember I loved the daily Bible stories. I remember the Noah’s Ark story and how God placed the rainbow in the sky after the flood as a sign. After school that day I remember riding in our car and seeing a rainbow in the sky. I told my mother that God gave us rainbows after the rain as a sign that He would never cause another flood on the earth again. I can still remember the look on my mother’s face and after a few seconds she told me that wasn’t true. Even at age 6, I was so sure of what I believed. Recently I was thinking back on that wondering why she said that. Now I realize I misspoke. The rainbow wasn’t a sign there would never be another flood. It was a sign of God’s promise to never cover the earth with a flood again. I think I understood the difference back then, I just didn’t communicate it correctly.
Amazing how, ‘as a child’, faith in God and His unfailing love was born in a classroom during a teacher’s Bible lesson. It was during a moment at that same school that I distinctly sensed God calling me to be a teacher. I remember, clearly, sitting in the multi-purpose room, where we had lunch and also watched movies. We had just finished watching a movie and I had a strong desire to become a teacher fill my heart. I never said anything about it to anyone but there was a strong, burning desire in my heart when I thought about being in the classroom. I didn’t realize what it was until many years later in my 30’s in a Bible study. We were discussing the ‘calling’ of Paul after he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and others shared their calling. It was then I sensed God’s spirit speaking to my heart and realized the significance of that moment.
In high school I was focused on preparing me for the future. I got involved in U.I.L. contests in Ready Writing, Persuasive Speaking and News Writing. In my senior year I began focusing on my love of English. Thinking about scholarships to college, I discovered if a student qualified to compete in the U.I.L. state competition you automatically qualified to apply for a Ewing Halsell Endowment. I began preparing for Poetry Interpretation working with Ms. Kathy McHenry. I chose a poem in each of the 3 categories. Ms. McHenry worked with me to prepare and arranged for me to practice in front of different classes. I loved 2 of the poems and finally settled on a poem in category 3. I enjoyed poetry and was excited to compete. I won first place in both the District and Regional contests with my two favorite poems. With my least favorite poem I placed 3rd out of 4 but I had met the requirement to apply for the scholarship and was awarded it toward tuition at The University of Texas at Austin.
I decided to major in English and minor in Speech and Poetry Interpretation to become certified to teach in high school. However, the Lord had a better plan. I kept taking classes even during the summer at S.A.C. when I was home and kept having contacts with Elementary age students and realized I had better rapport with that age group. In the last semester of my sophomore year in Austin, I heard that the, under construction, U.T.S.A. (The University of Texas at San Antonio) was opening to juniors in January. I applied to U.T.S.A. to transfer in January and got ready to move home to San Antonio. The biggest change was I was changing my major to Elementary Education and because U.T.S.A. didn’t have a Speech department yet, I examined my transcript to determine which subject for a second teaching field would allow me to graduate soonest. Although I had been an English major, all my coursework so far had fulfilled basic requirements and none of my 12 hours of upper division Speech would even transfer. The subject that plugged in best was History so it became my minor. The burning in my heart was stronger. I wanted to teach more than ever. So, motivated by my strong desire, even with the extra credits, I finished my degree in three years and began teaching at age 21.