Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

06 February 2009

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Sometimes when someone famous is being interviewed or receives an award, they mention a person who has been a positive influence in their life. Very occasionally the person mentioned is a teacher. It is of course every teacher's dream to make a difference in a child's life…to set them on the path to something great. And it is extremely rare for a teacher to actually learn that they have made that kind of difference in the life of a past pupil, as they are generally busy being teachers and not necessarily attending the Academy Awards or the Nobel Prize ceremony.

Well, earlier this week, I experienced this rare and precious moment in a teacher's life. A friend I taught with sent me an article published a couple of weeks ago in the glossy magazine insert of our local Sunday newspaper. Fortunate – because we never read that paper. It was an interview with Sophie Ward – model, writer and (sorry, Sophie) big sister of supermodel Gemma Ward. At one point journalist Claire Davies wrote,

"Ward has been writing stories for most of her life. Google her name and up will pop a reference to her winning a Miss Booker literary prize at the age of eight.

The award came from third grade teacher (Miss Booker) who created her own awards for the books made in her class."

I am that Miss Booker.

Sophie was part of a terrific class and we did many wonderful things in our year together. One activity was to write children's books. It was a big deal. The children worked hard on their stories and then we spent AGES copying them into books and illustrating them. (I did question the amount of class time we ended up devoting to the illustrations!!) When they were all done we invited the parents, the principal and the local newspaper to our book launch, complete with cordial and cheese (given that wine and cheese was completely out of the question!) Lots of the children read out their books and then I awarded the best authors with Booker prizes for literature, drawing from my famous surname at the time. Sophie was a recipient. And Sophie now boasts a publishing company (Paper Castle Press) to her name and has a novel and a children's book both hopefully being released later this year.

It was such a joy to know that Sophie's time in my classroom was special – and the best gift a teacher could ever receive to learn that this was the case. Thank you Sophie and go well with those books.


Helen said...

Well done Meredith! You must write to Sophie!

Anonymous said...

Cooooooooooooooooooool! I remember when you used to award Miss Booker Prizes. I remember hearing about all the work you and the children put into the books and the awards ceremony. And I remember thinking of the end of an era when you married and changed your name. I agree with Helen. You must write to Sophie. love Sal