Mr. Driscoll, my Sophomore English teacher at PRHS gave me a gift similar to the one Dan got from Ms. Rowe. I came to high school with an attitude problem and a record of being "Mentally Retarded" at PS30.
My first grade teacher there gave me that label. I could not read until the 4th grade. That is another story for which Mrs. Loeffler (my art teacher) played a significant role.
Most teachers at PRHS regarded me as trainable but few made any comments about what they liked in me. Mrs. Hackenbrock (a science teacher) said "I looked like an 85%" despite test scores averaging over 95%. I made it difficult for teachers to like me by making every effort to undermine their authority for the amusement of the guys in the back row.
Mr. Driscoll was a young and serious sophomore English teacher. He did not give any of us rabble rousers any slack. I never was very good at composing and executing prose, but one day Mr. Driscoll complemented me on my ability to describe. He did not comment on my poor grammar or miserable spelling, not to mention horrible hand writing. That caught my attention so I continued to try to describe things better.
At the same time, I started to respect myself more because he respected me. He also told me that he expected more of me because he believed I had more to give. Imagine that, he had not heard I was retarded.
My improved motivation to write helped me to think logically and that improved my understanding and performance in other classes. I am most grateful to Mr. Driscoll for being the one teacher who took the extra trouble to help me make a change in my life which has lasted me all these years.
He was one of the first to congratulate me when I won a NY Regents Scholarship and was assured of college entry.
Like the story about Mrs. Thompson and Terry, I eventually graduated from Medical School. I went into Academic Pathology and Research Immunology after my Post Doctoral training at Johns Hopkins.
Now I do medical research on developing new molecular diagnostics and vaccines against highly hazardous diseases at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick MD.
My writing skills never were very good, but my observation skills and "descriptions" in scientific papers have been outstanding. And, this has made all the difference. :) Art Anderson
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