Briarwood teacher Lisa Pickrell has a reason to be sentimental as the children she took under her wing and taught in kindergarten so long ago now prepare to graduate from high school.
But things became even more emotional last Thursday when she was surprised by the news the seniors had dedicated the Briarwood yearbook to her.
Briarwood Kindergarten Teacher Lisa Pickrell signs Mallory Jo Bradshaw's yearbook.
Photo by Jason B. Smith
Ms. Pickrell was moved by the gesture, and said the honor was completely unexpected.
"I just stood there and cried. I was shocked," she said. "Since I've been here, I've never known them to pick an elementary school teacher."
Students normally dedicate the yearbook to a high school teacher, and this is the first time in at least 20 years the honor has gone to a teacher in the lower grades, said Karen Hawes, Briarwood's yearbook advisor.
But the seniors wanted to dedicate the annual to Ms. Pickrell, whom they remember as a kind, caring teacher who introduced them to school and led them in presentations like "Heal the World" where each child memorized facts about a different country.
"They were very bright to be able to do that," Ms. Pickrell remembered. "It was a real pleasure teaching them."
While signing the annuals and talking with Ms. Pickrell, students recalled some incidents from their kindergarten days. They remembered little things like playing the part of a crayon in a school presentation, hair barrettes that had to be repositioned on a daily basis, and having terrible stage fright while looking out at an audience during a ceremony.
This year's senior class at Briarwood, which numbers 24, includes 13 students who attended kindergarten together under the guidance of Ms. Pickrell.
"We dedicated this to her because she started us off here. She made an impression on all our lives," said Senior Anne Wills, a member of the annual staff.