Persevering Priscilla

January 9, 2008
By
“A friend loves at all times.” This is something Priscilla Peterson lives by. In my opinion, Priscilla is not only a genuine friend, but also a hero. Priscilla describes a hero as “someone who lives in such a way that they inspire respect and integrity.” It seems as though she was describing herself. Priscilla Peterson is my hero because she has faced many hardships, has prevailed over many obstacles, and dedicates her life to helping others.

Priscilla Peterson is a wonderful lady. She teaches 8th grade English at Westfield Middle School. Former students describe her as “enthusiastic about learning” and “a cheerful woman who can always help you out.” Priscilla has found her true love by becoming a teacher late in life. Although she has only been teaching for four years now, it seems like she has been around the job for decades. She is very intelligent.
Priscilla stands at about 5’ 9” and describes herself, jokingly, as “weight challenged”. She is married and has three teenage children. She has peach-colored, short hair. Whenever I see her, she is wearing her usual pair of glasses. You can almost always find her showcasing a marvelous knit sweater and a pair of corduroy jeans. It wouldn’t be hard to find Priscilla, because she always has a gleaming smile on her rosy-cheeked face.

Priscilla had a tough childhood growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. At a young age Priscilla had to face the difficulty of her brother having mental issues. This made it arduous on the entire family, especially Priscilla. Unfortunately, her brother’s mental issues caused him to be overly aggressive. This aggressiveness lead to the physical abuse of Priscilla. Now, as if that wasn’t enough to handle; Priscilla also had to deal with the problems of her father, Samuel Elam. During her adolescent years, he was a chronic alcoholic. Having to deal with her dad’s alcoholism, and her brother’s mental controversy, and physical abuse made it unbearably tough for Priscilla.

Luckily, Priscilla was able to prevail over these extreme obstacles. Although she and her brother had a sour relationship during childhood, she still loved him and was willing to help him. By living in accordance with one of her favorite Bible verses “do unto other as you would have them do unto you,” she always came to her brother’s rescue in time of need. When her brother’s wife was ill and dying, Priscilla, being the good person that she is, was willing to give out her support. Like an angel, Priscilla was there to help him through the tough times. Eventually, his wife did pass on. But with the loss of one person, there was a birth of a new relationship. Priscilla and her brother had finally formed an admirable bond.

This wasn’t the only time where Priscilla took care of the people that she loved when they needed it most. As a young adult, she spent nine weeks in San Diego with her mother, Helen Elam, while Samuel was dying (meaning Priscilla was separated from her husband by thousands of miles). She spent another three weeks with Helen after the death of Samuel to help her deal with the agony of losing a spouse. Priscilla also took care of her mother by letting her live with her and her husband for the remaining three years of her life. Her mother had been diagnosed with leukemia, which she faced with tremendous bravery. Helen died on the day before Christmas Eve. Priscilla had now lost both of her parents.

Later on, Priscilla continued being a housewife. She later took a job working at a school as a lunch lady. Being around students all day inspired Priscilla to take up a new job of teaching.

Nowadays, Priscilla has dedicated her life to helping others not only as a teacher but as a parent and friend. She describes teaching as her “true love”. Her teaching method is direct, but she always tries to give her students a choice in whatever they do. Whether it is a book to read or a complex writing assignment, the students always have a choice. Her humorous demeanor, including an innumerable amount of lame jokes and silly stories, makes the students feel at ease, knowing that she is approachable whenever they need her assistance.

Priscilla likes to look at herself more as a coach or mentor than a teacher. She enjoys guiding her students to the path of academic success. As a former student, I believe her humor and “quirkiness” creates a good classroom atmosphere. The classroom is organized and neat. There are countless educational posters and books all around the room. Even though her desk is fairly organized, this may be in contrast to her life at home.

Home life for Priscilla is hectic. Feeling almost married to her job, she has a hard time creating good balance. Jokingly, Priscilla describes raising teenagers as one of the most difficult obstacles in her life. But one thing is for sure, she loves interacting with and guiding her children, and students, alike. Priscilla gives a lot of credit to her biggest hero, her husband, for making her the mother that she is.

On the whole, Priscilla has greatly impacted my life. From my time as her student and our recent discussions I have learned a lot. She has given me a new perspective on how to treat people. To me, she is a person of great integrity and inspires respect. A true friend. A real hero. I admire her ability to always offer a helping hand. Priscilla Peterson has definitely had a positive influence on my life.

In the end, Priscilla Peterson is an amazing and unique individual. She has faced many strenuous obstacles in her life. Yet, she has prevailed over some of the most difficult life situations imaginable. After going through all these tough times, she is still willing to offer her help to anyone who is in need of it. “There before the grace of God go I”. Priscilla also lives her life based on that saying. Meaning she lives before the grace of God. Overall, her good morals and beliefs along with her caring actions make her my hero. Once again, Priscilla is a wonderful person who inspires respect and integrity. I have great admiration and love for this astonishing woman.





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