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Teacher's Day: School's Out Forever

Only Alice Cooper could describe leaving school for the last time
Nina Hernandez, 4:50pm, Tue. May. 6

National Teacher's Day hits just as kids flock for the exit.

For me, school is finally done for good (unless I do my mom a solid and get to grad school). And as I sat thinking of how to express gratitude to my helpful and sometimes wacky college professors, I thought back to the woman who started this crazy ride in the first place. The teacher who, in my book, could've inspired today's holiday.

Fresh off a freshman year at a low performing Hays County school, I was behind when I got to McNeil High School. My Uncle James suggested I take Journalism 1, which led me to Theresa Proctor's newsroom, tucked away at the back of the building next to the art room. The first news story I ever wrote was for Proctor, about the fictional Coach Shupert cheating during a football game. When I got the paper back with a happy face in red, I knew what I wanted to do. Rather, I finally knew what I was good at.

In her rambunctious newsroom I learned how to be assertive, how to talk to sources and how to bang out copy on a deadline. Proctor's caring nature coupled with that wicked sense of humor made my two years on staff (first as a copy editor, then to the news chair) a labor of love. Long evenings editing over pizza and lunches fighting over Chinese food made us a beautifully dysfunctional family.

Four years ago on the cusp of graduation, in the same position I'm in now, I knew there was only one thing to do: journalism school at UT. With every byline I've endeavored to make her proud because I couldn't have done it without her. It's hard to think about it in those terms while everything is changing all at once, so maybe it's fortunate Teacher's Day comes around this time every year, so we have time to reflect on the men and women who between required reading and test prep, managed to teach us something.


Read more Summer Fun stories (and check out the last few years of fun) at austinchronicle.com/summer-fun as we slather on the SPF and lead up to the release of our special annual issue celebrating Austin's sunniest season. The Austin Chronicle’s 2014 Summer Fun Issue hits the stands Thursday, May 16.

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