In hindsight, I really don't know what, if anything, you knew about my story back then. But you probably saw much more about my struggles than anyone else did. Even if you didn't know all (or any) of the details, I have no doubt you could see I was an angry, lonely, hurting teenager, and I was full of dysfunction, violence, and helplessness, and I hated everything you asked me to do. I'm sure you knew I didn't like you. But maybe you didn't see that I always respected your grit. And you definitely don't know how I've always remembered you as the only reason I made it through high school. As I sit here today, I regret not telling you sooner.
You didn't have to come in early or stay late for me, but you did. You didn't have to schedule around me or give up time with other people for me, but you did. You were the first person in my life to sit down with me, one on one, and pour yourself into me, day after day, without losing your temper or raising your voice or walking out on me. You were the only educator in my school who invested more than the minimum to help me succeed. Other people had meetings about me and talked about what they were going to do about me. You met me where I was at and went through it with me. You did not pity me. You did not criticize me. As far as I know, you never even said anything negative about me. A lot of my teachers did. A lot of them gossiped about me and put me down. But you did not.