Before I knew it, it was the last day of my junior year. As we sat in our homeroom, awaiting our report cards from our homeroom teacher, Ms. Akillian. Ms. Akilian would announce our names in alphabetical order, and we’d come up and receive our report cards. Ms. Akillian, stood nearly five foot in height. She was stocky and graying. She wore glasses that fit her, and always wore a serious scientific face. She was a Chemistry teacher. I knew I would never be smart enough to take one of Ms. Akillian classes. I’d felt guilty and ashamed that I was not smart enough to take one of her classes. Yet, she was my gracious homeroom teacher everyday for all four of my years of high school.
I’d always wondered what Ms. Akillian thought of me. Because she to me, overflowed with high levels of brilliance. I wondered if some day, I could be brilliant. And maybe she’d nod and tell me, ‘You’re smart.’ And I’d thank her. So here we were June 1979 awaiting our report cards for the fourth and final marking period. I knew I passed everything. However, to me it was, ‘what grades did I get’? As I sat next to Sue Spaeth, a brilliant kid in her own right. Ms. Akillian paused, before calling out my name. She said, “Now everyone, I want to tell you something. This next student achieved something. And it is the biggest improvement I’ve ever seen as a teacher. I want you to congratulate her. She made the Honor Roll.” I did not think it was me. I got mentally lost. I figured, I wasn’t listening attentively like I always had done in her homeroom.
Then I heard her say, “Jody-Lynn, I’m proud of you. Come up here to get your report card.” She smiled, “Congratulations.” I was stunned. Handing me my report card, she continued, “You did good.” As she retained her smile and clapped for me. I thanked her. I had received all A’s and one B, which was in Latin.