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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Sep 25, 2008

In two stories in today’s Daily News, two people recognized for their efforts give credit to teachers in their past for making them successful.

Lili Jensen, Estherville Lincoln Central media director and teacher, herself recognized as the 2008 Champion in Education, gave credit to a long list of teachers in her past when she received the award Tuesday night. In her own inimitable humility, Jensen credited others for her own success.

Another local person who found success recently is Angela Tonderum. A 1992 Estherville Lincoln Central graduate, Tonderum credited a teacher in her past for inspiring her to write.

One of the signs of true greatness is humility and sharing the glory with others. Jensen gave credit to her family, friends and other teachers while Tonderum thanked teachers and her family.

In both these instances, one is perhaps reminded of the film “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” A high-school music teacher, he considered himself a failure. However, his students went on to succeed, based primarily on the inspiration they received from him. One girl even went on to become governor. Upon his retirement, a group of his students returned to the school to play his composition. And they played phenomenally.

For teachers, students are like works of art. They shape them and mold them and then let them go, hoping their artwork becomes a success in the world. Often, they have no idea how successful they have become until many years later. Only then do those teachers realize how great of an impact they had on society.

Sometimes it’s a very long and drawn-out process. Sometimes it may take decades for a chance comment or bit of encouragement to take root in the mind of a former student. But when it does, nothing can stop it. It’s like planting a seed and watering it and stepping back to watch it grow.

And my, how it can blossom.