It hit me as I walked down the halls of Norris Elementary School.
Imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery.
As McDuffie County's 4,000 or so students got back in the classroom Thursday, they started a new chapter of their lives -- one that will be based on the teachers, paraprofessionals, staff, friends and everyone else they come into contact with.
They may not know it immediately -- maybe not even in the next year or five years -- but at some point, these kids will realize they've spent their life trying to live up to the examples set by their mentors.
It is basic human nature to emulate those we feel are better than ourselves, those who are what we want to be or are where we want to be.
Eventually, the people that are the most successful in life take bits and pieces from those they emulate and form a person they can be proud of.
This allows them to set their own course and become the people others strive to imitate.
Growing up, I modeled myself after my parents, my grandfather, friends, a little league coach, an elementary school physical education teacher and a high school history teacher. Even my first years in the newspaper business were spent modeling my writing after many of the talented writers I worked with.
And now, I'd like to think others are emulating me. Or at least learning something from me.
But I just help a great staff produce a good community newspaper each week. I'm not in the classroom each day and shaping the lives of children.
That's the job of our teachers, and they deserve to be recognized at every opportunity.
To that end, The McDuffie Mirror, along with Moye Pharmacy, will honor a teacher each week during the school year as a Mirror Mentor.
We're hoping to spotlight those teachers who go beyond their call and leave a lasting impression on their students.
There are many of them in the McDuffie County school system (and out at Briarwood Academy, too) and we want to know more about them.
If you know of a teacher who should be a Mirror Mentor, let us know at 597-0335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, remember someone, somewhere, may be looking up to you, imitating the things you do. Try to be the best example you can be.
It's neat to be able to imitate great people and take pieces of them to form your own personality and life, but there's no greater honor and feeling than being the pacesetter for others. Take that position and revel in it.
Now go shape someone's life for the better.