Jackie Boor knows first-hand that a good teacher draws out a student’s strengths, supports their weaknesses and acts as an inspiration.
It was inspiration and the feeling of being heard that Gladys Hue brought into Boor’s life when she needed it most.
After her mother had a nervous breakdown, Boor, the oldest, was helping her grandmother care for her siblings. It was difficult to concentrate and Boor’s grades had been slipping when Hue walked into her sixth-grade classroom.
“I faked a stutter to get into her speech therapy class because I liked her so much,” Boor said. “If you want to be there, you can be there. Mrs. Hue, in this community, she was very giving.”
Boor describes the impact Hue had on her life in a short story, “The Code Reader.” The piece is one of 101 stories that appears in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers”, which was released during National Teacher Appreciation Week last month.
Boor, who visited Crescent City this week with her 14-year-old granddaughter Elizabeth Morgan, will be signing copies of “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers” at Del Norte Office Supply on Friday.
Boor was born in Eugene and lived in Orick and Trinidad before her family moved to Crescent City. She was editor of the Del Norte High School newspaper, the Pow Wow, and was teen correspondent for the Triplicate under Jim Yarbrough.
Boor graduated from high school in 1969 and attended Southern Oregon University and Humboldt State University, earning a degree in speech communications. She worked as a freelancer for local newspapers and founded a writing service called Word Wise while she raised her kids in Sacramento.
Boor’s first book, co-authored by Lt. Col. Gene Boyer, was “Inside the President’s Helicopter: Reflections of a White House Senior Pilot.” Boor also wrote about her great-grandfather in “LOGAN: The Honorable Life and Scandalous Death of a Western Lawman.”
Boor said she decided to write and submit a story about Gladys Hue to “Inspiration for Teachers” editors Alex Kajitani and Amy Newmark after she received a random e-mail.
“‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ looks for personal stories that come from the heart and come from personal experiences and have an authentic voice to them,” she said. “I wanted to use myself as a student who was going through a difficult time and acknowledge that teachers have within their classrooms students who are having perhaps trouble at home or difficulty that is not immediately apparent and that teachers are very good to adapting to the needs of the children.”
Boor would connect with Hue again in high school first as a student in her public speaking class and again as a member of her competitive forensic-speech team. Boor said her coach was all about preparation and rehearsal. During the competition Hue “was a big cheerleader.”
“Her input came came prior to us actually going into competition,” Boor said. “At that point in time, she just said ‘Go for it; you know what you can do.’”
Morgan noted that most teachers try to treat everyone equally.
“As you get to know them they adapt to you,” Morgan said. “They’re not ever out to get you. They just want to build you up.”
Boor pointed out that Hue represents many other teachers and wasn’t the only one to make an impact on the lives of students in Del Norte. Those teachers include Ron Kunstall, Doris Whalen and Rick Bennett.
“I would say that my one message is that we were a small community somewhat isolated yet we had teachers who broadened our horizon and Mrs. Hue wasn’t the only one,” Boor said.
Boor will be signing “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers” from 2-6 p.m. Friday at Del Norte Office Supply, 240 I St., Crescent City.
Reach Jessica Cejnar at email@example.com .