These are not just students. These are individual reasons that Mary Ann Wilson comes to Midland Valley High School every day for 33 years.
“I enjoy them,” Wilson says. “They inspire me, most days. Some days moreso than others. They give me a reason to come to school and that’s why I keep coming back. They go through things that some of us don’t ever consider. Being here with them makes me understand that there’s a reason that I’m supposed to be here.”
She is so much more than a teacher.
“Sometimes a disciplinarian. Sometimes I am their friend. Sometimes I’m the mentor. Sometimes I’m a swift kick in the rear end. Sometimes I drag them through what they’re supposed to be doing. Sometimes I’m just here to lend an ear. For some students, I don’t always reach them all. But I try.”
She tries because she truly understands children and remembers what it was like to be one.
“The challenges that you and I go through are some of the same challenges that they’re going through. Technology has changed a little bit but they still deal with some of the same issues that we struggled with way back when we were teenagers.”
So much love. So much compassion for her kids. All from a woman too strong to let her struggles keep her down. She is coming off chemo, radiation and surgery. A cancer survivor who wouldn’t accept sick days when her loving colleagues tried to donate them. She’s too focused on her mission.
“That’s not my nature,” she says. “My job is here. I have a purpose and my purpose is with these kids. God gave me a reason and my reason was here and it was to finish out what I started. My goal is to finish through this year. And I’m not going to stop.”