Rebecca Potter was my junior AP English Language and Composition teacher at Anderson County High School. I had signed up to take this class because of my love of literature and the desire to challenge my writing skills. I didn’t know it at the time, but the year I would spend learning the complexity of the English language under her guidance would be the year I would find one of my biggest role models.
As an avid reader and active student, I got along very well with Mrs. Potter. When she would go on tangents about the great authors we would read and dissect during class, I would emotionally travel to that special world with her. I also understood how deeply an author’s words can touch you. When she required our class to read a nonfiction book and a fiction book on top of our other AP assignments, I became even more enamored with her class. Her engaging teaching style and love for literature wasn’t the only thing that made me look at her with the utmost admiration – it was her empathetic and compassionate heart.
During the spring of that school year, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. As my body was fighting to return to homeostasis during my time in the hospital under the endocrinologist’s care, my mind was fighting the frustration of being away from school. When I returned to class two weeks after my diagnosis, Mrs. Potter was the first person to check in with me. She designated reading time for my class and pulled me aside. She inquired about my emotional state of being diagnosed with a chronic disease. When I shared my fears about balancing my new health condition with the ACT and AP tests coming up in the next couple of months, she affirmed to me that the disease didn’t take away my intelligence and work ethic. She reminded me to show myself grace during this difficult time and that whatever I was able to achieve was enough.
Mrs. Potter has since moved from my graduating high school, but I know her tender-hearted spirit still roams the halls. My younger sister now attends Anderson County High School, and I am saddened that she won’t get to experience the love and care Mrs. Potter had for education and for her students.
During National Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to express my gratitude for Mrs. Potter and her efforts to pour light into my life as a student and young woman. I am forever grateful that my love for literature had the chance to grow in her classroom.
Anna Williams is a 2021 graduate of Anderson County High School and is currently a student at the University of Louisville. She was previously a member of the Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council and is interning with the KDE’s Division of Communications this summer.