Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ode to Mrs. Brookshire

It is time - time to clean up Lizzie's room. I started on Friday, and it really doesn't look like I've made much headway. I've gone through every drawer at least twice deciding what to keep and what to donate. I have 3 boxes of memorabilia: items that I remembered, items I had forgotten, and items that I never knew about. I found tons of cards which I will share at some point, and I now have a total of 46 t-shirts that will be made into a quilt. There are t-shirts from Panther Pride and t-shirts from UT. Some shirts were just favorite ones that Lizzie loved to wear. One is a signed team jersey from that really cute soccer player that visited Lizzie in the hospital. Of course there is a Just Beat It and a Be the Change team Lizzie shirt. And there are two Girls of Grace shirts which makes, well, either the following more special or the shirts more special. I found a flashdrive on my third pass through a small desk, and, of course, had to take a peek. Several people have commented on the impact Lizzie made on their lives. The following shows the impact Laura Brookshire made on Lizzie's life. Thank you, Laura, for being such an inspiration and helping mold Lizzie into the wonderful young woman that she was.

Ode to Mrs. Brookshire 

              I remember that as I child I admired every actress on the Disney Channel.  To a twelve-year-old girl, it seemed as if Hilary Duff, Raven Symone, and Christy Romano had everything a girl dreamed of at that age: fame, fortune, beauty, and boys. I worshipped every one of those girls almost to the point of obsession. In fact, while I was in third grade, an unsuspecting teacher asked me if I were Lizzie McGuire because I knew every fact possible about the popular television show.  As I lost my naiveté, I also lost my innocent childhood idols.  I no longer admired the child stars of Disney; I almost felt lost until I met Mrs. Brookshire.

            After moving to Lufkin, I was amazed to see the irony of my new hometown.  Lufkin, a small town with churches on every corner, located in the center of the Bible Belt, boasts the highest teen pregnancy rate in Texas. More and more girls arrived to school with noticeable baby bumps, and even though I knew it was impossible, I began to doubt that pregnancy was not contagious. While everyone laughed off the comments joking that pregnancy was in the water, I stopped drinking from the tap. As an impressionable young girl in a new town, I began to question if my morals were keeping me from fitting in.  My longing to be part of the “in crowd” caused conflicts between my head and my heart, and I was constantly questioning whether my principles were worth preserving.  Mrs. Brookshire answered my question when she became my Girls of Grace teacher, an organization whose goal is to inspire girls to see themselves through God’s eyes.

            Mrs. Brookshire sees the best in me; she sees the best in her girls.  Teaching a class of teenage girls to be confident in ourselves and not to give in to the poor morals of our generation is not an easy task, but she accepts the challenge each year.  She constantly uplifts me by reminding me of all of the small achievements I have made: not succumbing to the pressures of my generation, standing up for those who cannot, and leaving my group of friends to befriend a lonely peer. Her confidence in me helped me to have confidence in myself.

            High school has been a big struggle for me.  Being surrounded by people with negative attitudes, which unlike pregnancy is actually contagious, has a habit of affecting my  everyday choices. Knowing that there is Mrs. Brookshire, who supports me and loves me no matter how many mistakes I make, has made my high school career so much easier.  Her never-ending positive encouragements have made me happier with myself and my abilities, ultimately making me feel more in control of my life.

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