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"Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story." Josh Shipp

No matter what your role is with students, you can change their lives. Dede talks about Wally, a WWII veteran who brightens students’ days, everyday.

I really enjoy sharing thoughts on Education and stories of inspiration in my weekly post.  This week is no exception.

I met a 94 year old veteran named Wally on the CBS Evening news on September 5. Wally was in the Navy in WW II,  a fighter pilot in Korea, and is now a retired commercial airlines pilot.  He has found a positive way to connect with middle school students in his hometown. Just because he is 80+ years older than they are, the friendship is real.

Wally waves at the parents in their cars, and greets the kids on their way to school.  After a fist bump for each student, he teaches them real life lessons.  Wally shares favorite quotes with the kids, like “Never look down on somebody – unless you are helping them up.” He says the first half of the quote, and they finish the statement.  Another favorite is “Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible,”

I was so touched by Wally and his inspirational mission, that I knew he would be the topic of my post this week.  Wally is a person who has seen the world and understands the importance of a caring adult in a child’s life, and he recognizes that although every child needs that caring adult, not every child has one. Wise Wally starts the day with the middle school kids in a positive manner, and he gives them important ideas to think about and practice during the school day and in life. He is making them better people by sharing his knowledge and love.

Please take a look at this short, and inspiring clip of Wally and his world.  I think with his engaging style, positive manner, and gift for forming relationships, he was born to be a teacher.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

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The author

Dede Rittman is a 37-year veteran English/ Theater teacher from Pittsburgh, PA, teaching 35 years in the North Allegheny School District, where she also was Varsity Head Boys’ Golf Coach for 33 years, directed the spring musical and talent shows, and contributed to many district initiatives. She was a PA Teacher of the Year semi-finalist in 2011, the year she had to retire when her husband, Scott, was dying from stage four colon cancer. Dede’s book STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER was published in September 2014 and the book has won 8 awards. Nationwide, colleges and universities are using her book, and Dede accepts speaking engagements around the country, with some focusing on education, and some on motivation. She is a guest blogger for educational magazines and was the Co-host of The Total Education Q and A Show, which was heard around the world on 120 stations in 80 countries on Dede gives presentations around the globe on both of her books through and . Dede writes a weekly blog for teacher inspiration at GRADY GETS GLASSES, Dede’s children’s book, just came out in hardcover. The book won Best New Children’s Book 2016 from The Authors’ Zone. Dede has also won two Album of Distinction Awards from Delta Kappa Gamma in 2015 and 2017; the prestigious I AM L.E.E. (Living Education Everyday) Award in 2016; and she was inducted into the North Allegheny Sports Hall of Fame in October of 2017. Dede works very hard on promoting her books and speaking engagements. She enjoys continuing teaching grades kindergarten to college through her books!

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