Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee 2021-05-29 16:29:33 –
Lee County, Alabama (WRBL) – On the final day of Wacoochee Elementary School, the venue was filled with tears of gratitude. The school’s beloved caretaker became a special education paraprofessional, and he realized his dream of graduating from college. That meant saying goodbye to the Wakuchi family, who pursued their dream of becoming a PE teacher.
The inspiring story of 26-year-old Derrick Harris begins in 2014 after graduating from Borigard High School. Harris’ father died when he was in elementary school. His grandparents helped raise him with his mother. Harris wanted to go to college, but finding a well-being job was important. A friend told him about the caretaker’s job at Wakuchi Elementary School. Harris was hired and emerged with unstoppable work ethic and amicable attitudes.
“To know Derrick is to love Derrick,” said Dr. Julie Ann Eldred.
Soon, Harris’ dream of going to college became a common mission, leading to the encounter with school counselor Tracy Lane. After that meeting, Lane gathered a group of teachers behind Harris. Harris calls these enthusiastic educators “school moms.”
“We sat down and planned his entire college career. He said,’Why do I have to write it all down?'” I see the end I said I need to make sure that. We gathered teachers and held a faculty meeting to discuss helping him. I had a bag of my sister’s books. We lost her at the age of 17. She died in a car accident. So I said, “I want you to bring this backpack because I use it a lot,” and packed school supplies tightly. I said, you’ll fall, but it’s okay. We’re here to catch you, “Lane said.
Harris continued his full-time work while attending night school. The course was challenging, but when Harris needed help, the teacher helped me at all times during lunch and planning.
“I love them to death for their patience. Mathematics was my biggest challenge and I had projects and endless treatises. When I needed to edit a treatise, I had 1 instead of 20. I quickly learned to do just that, “says Harris.
Harris worked as a guardian for six years, and school managers regarded Harris as a natural teacher for their children.
“Two years ago, we hired Derrick as a quasi-specialist in special education. He supports many special education students, but it’s just as important to all our children. He has a very good nature for children and is such an encouragement and giver, typical of when he sees his needs met, “says Principal Stacy Reddish. I did.
Reddish said just before WRBL came to school to meet Harris and interview the teachers who helped him. Harris felt that the floor needed to be wiped with a mop. So he did. He steps in and meets his needs without being asked.
The 2020/2021 academic year turned out to be difficult for all teachers and students due to COVID-19. For Harris, his last college semester was even more challenging as he faced many personal crises.
“He lost his grandfather, lost his grandmother nine months later, and stood on stage to graduate the following week,” Lane said.
Harris says the year was a challenging one. As always, he found love and support at Wacoochee Elementary School.
“Grandparents prayed for me, even if I didn’t pray for myself. I know they are looking at me. My dad too. They pray for me. He guided me at this moment, “Harris said.
At that moment, I had a college degree and was planning to participate in AUM’s PE program. This week, Wakuchi held a surprise graduation and farewell party for Harris. Hundreds of students and weeping teachers lined up in the hallway, and when Harris passed by in a hat and gown, he hugged Harris. Harris’s success was also their success. Students saw first-hand how their determination to overcome adversity led to prosperity.
This week is bittersweet for Harris and his Watchy family. The last day of Harris was Friday. He enrolled at Auburn University in Montgomery next week and took up a PE assistant position at the Opera Squid City School in West Forest.
“It’s hard to see him leave, but we’re excited to get one step closer to his dream of becoming a PE teacher in his next role,” Reddish said.
Harris and his “school mom” are examples of brightly colored signs hanging in the hallway. The sign says, “Believe in yourself, you can’t stop.”
Congratulations, Derrick Harris. You can’t stop.
Adored Lee County School custodian earns college degree, ‘Teacher Moms’ thrilled Source link Adored Lee County School custodian earns college degree, ‘Teacher Moms’ thrilled