By Dan Rather

danratherSometimes you can make a big difference in a kid’s life just by paying attention. For Mrs. Simmons, the principal of Love Elementary School in the Heights section of Houston, paying attention was a big part of her life’s work. She was the kind of principal who involved herself in the lives of the children in her care, who got to know their families.

It was Mrs. Simmons who noticed, around the time I was at the fragile age of nine or ten, that some of my cohorts and I appeared to be headed for trouble. One day, on her way home from school, she passed our group, engaged as we were in wasting time. She noted to us that we might have fun if we went over to the Boy’s Club.

At the Boy’s Club they taught us to play hoops, and before you knew it we were practicing regularly and playing in a league with real uniform tops. It was nothing fancy. But it was enough, at that age especially, to be around people who cared. Mrs. Simmons was one such a person

in my life, and she demonstrated it every day at Love Elementary School. She knew that sometimes a kid just needed a push in the right direction to get them where they’re going.

So thanks to Mrs. Simmons and the Boy’s Club, for paying attention and making a difference in my life.

My third-grade class at William G. Love Elementary, 1940. That’s me in the striped tie, back row center.

My third-grade class at William G. Love Elementary, 1940. That’s me in the striped tie, back row center.

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