San Luis Obispo recently lost a great teacher.
Mrs. Beth Peterson did not just have you in her second-grade classroom at Teach School in San Luis Obispo; she was your teacher for life.
She entranced us in the 1970s with her beautifully organized classroom, where Dick and Jane books lined the low shelves. Our spelling test successes were returned adorned with gold foil stars. She energetically took 30 kids on adventurous field trips.
Later, I noticed she modeled how to be a great person by consistently volunteering in the community.
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She also led by example in exercising for health, striding around town on her long daily walks, of course wearing a sun hat.
Most importantly, Mrs. Peterson truly knew how to encourage with special gestures. Forty years later, she would still call students and leave messages when she read about us in the paper, saying, “I always have to call and congratulate on your accomplishments.”
Getting a call like that from Mrs. Peterson was better than getting a gold star on your homework.
I still have one saved on my voice mail.
Here’s a gold star back at you, Mrs. Peterson.