I teach developmental math among other things and one of the modules I go over with my students is less than and greater than. The other day I was in the study skills lab where students that need extra help come and get tutoring in all sorts of subjects. These students are working hard trying to understand concepts or lessons that they are struggling with in college. At the desk was one of the English teachers talking to two tutors about how students that are average should not be in college, that if they only received a C or below in high school they had no business being in college that they were less than college material. The two tutors were agreeing saying that they see this all day long, students that are less than ready for college in the lab. I was thinking to myself that this conversation was occurring in the wrong place. The study skills lab was full of students. Imagine how discouraged the students in study skills must have felt over hearing this conversation. These students have heard that they were less than all their lives and now they are trying to be greater than. I felt heart-broken that people who are working at the study skills lab would think so little of the students that they work with daily. I have seen these students succeed, graduate from college and go on to careers. I started thinking about this English teacher who has become less than too. No longer a caring teacher or kind person – she is simply less than.
Two tragedies occurred on Monday 28, 2011 in Vincennes Indiana. First, a dynamic woman died in a car accident on her way to work. This was no ordinary women. This woman was an 86-year-old dynamo. Everyday she dressed up put on high heels, big earrings, and makeup. She always had a smile on her face no matter how bad the day at work was. Believe me where she worked at is one tough place. Her name was Rose Singleton and she worked at WorkOne. Rose dealt with the good and the bad, people that were angry that something was wrong with their unemployment, sad that they had lost a job or thrilled at finding a new job. Rose loved her job, she showed up everyday – even in the ice and snow. While others complained about being at work, she was simply happy. Yes, Rose was 86 but her life was cut short she had many more years left and I believe she would have lived everyone one of them in those high heels and earrings that she loved so very much. The second tragedy is that a young person in our community who had an accident on Monday morning, who probably did not intend to hurt anyone, will now have to live with the burden of knowing that they unintentionally took a life. It is a heavy burden to carry around, the guilt is incredible. I hope that we as a community in Vincennes remember Rose and embrace the young person who never meant to hurt anyone.