Living Columns & Blogs

Retired teacher overjoyed at students' continued kindness, appreciation

Susan Price and Gwen Binnicker
Susan Price and Gwen Binnicker

Thanks to Gwen Thacker Binnicker of Norway, S.C., for sharing her side of a recent "Sea Foam" story written by one of her former students.

Gwen writes that the Feb. 18 article -- "That Extra Special Day" by Susan Woodard Price of Fripp Island -- has elevated her "rock star" status to "rock star celebrity."

"For an 80-year-old woman to be remembered from the 1960s in such an inspiring and touching way, I have to pinch myself to be sure I am still grounded here on Earth," she writes.


By Gwen Binnicker

Many times, students are the ones who need the praise, not teachers.

I was blessed for eight years to have taught physical education and coached at a brand new school, Spaugh Junior High in Charlotte, at the beginning of my teaching career in the 1960s.

I was so fortunate to have students who were respectful, wanted to excel, had parents who instilled in them Christian values, and were so teachable that they taught me how to teach.

It was they who gave me a "positive jump start" and a "powerful booster shot." It caused me to love my students and my profession.

I thank them for the beginning, and now the ending, of my 38-year career.

In January, they organized a "Golden Girls Reunion" with the old teacher. We met in Orangeburg. One of the organizers was Susan Woodard Price, now of Fripp Island. I thought she and your readers should know how this event changed my life.

I was retired, living a very blessed, quiet life until the girls found me last August. And now there are letters, phone calls, pictures, cards for every occasion, flowers in Spaugh colors, books from A to Z, and even an autographed softball that is a memory of our winning teams.

This feeling is priceless. It reached deep down in the soul.

Even after six months, I can't wait to see the mailman because I have reconnected after 50 years with former students, principals, doctors, lawyers, friends, coaches, teachers and roommates who brighten my day. Unbelievably, it has been the spark that has ignited my life.

I don't do email, so they're having to write old-fashioned letters. For Easter, I got 26 letters.

Now to the article, written by Susan, about an "extra special day." She wrote that I changed her life by encouraging her to try out for the cheerleading squad when she didn't feel like she was worthy. She wrote that I told her that every student deserves an equal chance, no matter what their circumstances at home.

Yes, the love felt in the room on that day is immeasurable for each of us present.

When we held our reunion, Susan drove alone the 200 miles from Fripp Island. She bounded in, carrying her cheerleading uniform, the first one there. She is a blessed young lady with a loving husband, a fantastic family in Georgia, and five talented, athletic grandchildren.

To know Susan is to love her.

She not only is blessed, she has blessed so many others on this Earth. She is a one-of-a-kind. She is pretty, smart, talented and a good leader who others like to follow. She made good grades, was a skilled athlete, excellent gym assistant, was voted head cheerleader, most popular, most school spirited, Spaugh Day Queen, class officer, etc. She's a go-getter who has a contagious personality and is admired because she is always involved in some cause to enrich and change the life of another. Susan is a bubbly Christian lady who "runneth over" with good deeds. She is an ideal example, which we should model our life after.

Susan, keep on "getting it." You are an inspiration and our cheerleader who has touched and changed my life and others.

My prayer is that someone, someday, will honor you and touch you in the way you and the "golden girls" have etched a memory in my life that is unforgettable. I'm enjoying my new life at 80 as a "rock star celebrity." Thank you for allowing me to see and hear my eulogy before death from your testimonials. You make me so proud to have been a part of Spaugh's legacy.

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