A surprise encounter at PRCC

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Saturday, I covered the Women’s Symposium at Pearl River Community College.
Before the event, I spoke with event coordinators about specifics, such as what time I needed to be there and received a general outline of the event.
What I didn’t expect to hear was the name of my eighth grade English teacher, Mary Ann McRaney, during our conversation.
Throughout the years I have kept in touch with her, along with one of my history teachers, through lunch dates and more recently Facebook.
They both attended my wedding festivities two years ago. However, due to life’s circumstances, we have been unable to reconnect in person in the two years since I tied the knot.
Well, as soon as I heard she would be attending as a member of the Writer’s Corner at the symposium, I couldn’t wait to see her.
So I decided to surprise her. I didn’t message her on Facebook, but rather made a beeline straight to her table the moment I got there.
Since her retirement, she has written three young adult Christian books. I’m very proud of her and cherish the signed copy of her first book she gave me.
Well I got the reaction I wanted, she was very surprised indeed and proceeded to tell me how proud she was and told the other authors she “taught me everything I know,” which is true.
She is the first teacher I remember connecting with on more than just an educational level.
In her class, I was introduced to many authors such as John Steinbeck and to writing.
It was then I knew I wanted to do something that required a lot of writing, which back then, for some strange reason, was becoming an attorney. My mom always told me I could “argue with a fence post,” so I thought I could turn that talent into a career.
But I changed my mind and throughout the years, Mrs. McRaney’s guidance has been an integral part of my college life and career choices.
She is one of my favorite teachers and I owe everything to her.
It makes me so happy to know that I have made her proud and that she still takes an interest in my life after all these years.
After the big surprise, I wandered through the symposium taking pictures, conducting interviews and listening to the entertaining speakers.
While they were mostly discussing women’s health, I realized there was also something more important going on.
Among the crowd, there were mothers, grandmothers, daughters and friends sharing a special day with each other.
I believe it’s important to cultivate our relationships with the women in our lives.
I had a great time at the symposium and am so pleased I got to spend it with one of the most special women in my life, Mrs. McRaney.

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