If we are truly lucky, our lives are touched by those rare people who are so amazing and so wonderful and so brilliant that we leave changed for the better. I, like thousands of other high school students, had the honor of having Renee LaFever for a teacher.
She wasn't just a teacher. She was a friend. During my high school years, a lot of really hard stuff came my way--my dad had open heart surgery, my beloved grandmother died--and Miss LaFever was right there walking through it all with me. Her prayers and words of encouragement meant more to me than I will ever be able to tell you. She never judged, but taught me how to deal with it, prayed with me, and taught me to laugh at life--a skill I am eternally grateful for.
She was known for her bright sunny personality and her love of Diet Coke and pugs. Of the many memories I have of her classes, one that really sticks out was of being chosen to sneak down to her car to sneak her precious pug babies Daisey Mae and Keeper back into class. And of course they were in their Halloween costumes--a bumble bee and an angel--because that's how she rolled.
She was never afraid to push the limits and loved telling us about how she got caught showing Dateline in one of her classes, and the principal walked in right as they were showing a big pile of maggots (it sounds gross, but to hear her tell it always left tears in our eyes from laughing so hard). We all wanted to be just like her--she was the epitome of cool.
She was the teacher who pushed us to dig deeper, to study harder, to live life bolder. And I will always be grateful that I was able to have her for a teacher. I am sad that we have lost her, but so very thankful that God allowed us to know her and to learn from her. I can only hope that my life has even a fraction of the impact that her has had.