190 | Light :: Sydney, Australia, 2013

I remember it was a dreary day. The clouds were looming, and I lingered outside a coffee shop, deciding whether or not to go inside just in case it rained. That’s when I saw this lamp. I’m not sure whether it was by design, but when you look at the right angle, the reflection of the light from the top turned into tiny wings for the golden cup at the bottom. I was mesmerized and stared at it for a while.

Today I found out one of my high school teachers passed away. She taught AP English my senior year, and my memory of her was a stern woman, always dressed impeccably, and had the dry humor of an English aristocrat. The most memorable thing from the class for me was having to recite a part of the Cantebury Tales in old English. That doesn’t mean I didn’t learn much from the class, but it’s been many many years. She was one of my favorite teachers, even though I rarely spoke in class, and never went to office hours. But when I won the gold medal at the Academic Decathlon state competition, I decided that I would ask her to wear it during the day (that was the tradition). I remember feeling nervous and excited when I went up to her before school to ask her whether she would like to wear my medal. she seemed slightly surprised, since usually students give the medals to teachers who helped them out a lot for competition, and I barely spoke to her at all. But of course she said yes. I think she knew that I wanted her to be proud of me, and hopefully she was.

I have had the privilege of being taught by some great teachers. They may not have known it at the time, and possibly will never know, but they guided me through some of my most difficult times, showed me a world far beyond the classroom, and inspired me to never stop learning. The light they shone might not have been bright, and may have gone unnoticed by many, but for some, they gave wings.

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