I absolutely would be an ungrateful sloth if I did not take the opportunity to nominate two teachers from Tolman Elementary School in Bountiful for the KSL Newsradio Teacher Feature Award. Over the last three kids, we have found that there is a very special First Grade Teacher and Second Grade Teacher at this school.
Last year our young son Eli Hill was in First Grade with Loriann Taylor. She simply made our little son, who had some special needs thrive in the classroom. She took to our little Eli and made him feel a part of the classroom scene. She made this quiet shy lad of six feel as important as any other. Eli simply loved Mrs. Taylor. He considered her a personal friend. The friendship grew deeper when she came to our family’s annual Flag Raising Ceremony on the 4th of July. But then on July 8th, Eli was diagnosed with T Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. In the first 72 hours Eli fought for his life at Primary Children’s Hospital. Mrs. Taylor was there, to offer encouragement and support. She helped his weakness become stronger. She was the best kind of friend, one who makes kids who hair fall out feel cool. The kind of friend that is there when it’s difficult and when it is most needed. And now with a new school year, who could ever be as good as Mrs. Taylor?
Second grade with a 7-year-old in treatment most of the time makes getting through the year impossible, unless your teacher is Teresa Simon. We did not know her, but Mrs. Taylor did. And Eli with his many chemotherapy sessions and long durations in the hospital and dealing with school seemed like an impossible task. We found out that kids with cancer can have home school when they are too sick and weak to go. Mrs. Simon was an Angel sent from Heaven. She knew exactly how to challenge Eli and make him curious about learning. She stimulated his mind in the same manner as his Radiation at Huntsman’s. She focused on him like a laser beam and helped him stay on task. He even was able to present the Haka to his classmates as part of his Country Presentation on New Zealand. Eli turned 8 years old last January 31 and was baptized. And there was Mrs. Simon, at the church house to support him.
In a time when we are plagued with troubling news of teachers who fall short of moral standards and illegal improprieties, it is so refreshing to be able to nominate two exceptionally sensitive and talented women, who understand that there is no greater call than to be a teacher. There is so much more to say regarding these two wonderful ladies. Although I have primarily discussed Eli’s experience with Mrs. Taylor and Simon, our other two children Issac and Isabelle have had their own experiences with both teachers which are equally impressive.
Cancer can be such a scary ordeal to a young child. We are so grateful for the opportunity to nominate Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Simon for the Teacher Feature recognition.
–Thomas N. Hill