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Professor thanks high school science teacher, offers help and "open door"

April 29, 2003

What would happen if a large number of Austin Peay faculty took the time to write their high school and say, "Thank you for what you did for me. If I can ever be of service to you…"

That's the question posed by a letter from Dr. Laurina Lyle, biology professor, to the principal of Smyrna High School, a letter she shared with Dr. Sherry Hoppe and Hoppe shared with InnerAction.

"It was science fair time, and I was in a panic," Lyle wrote of that time back in 1969. "What could I do?
April 29, 2003

What would happen if a large number of Austin Peay faculty took the time to write their high school and say, "Thank you for what you did for me. If I can ever be of service to you…"

That's the question posed by a letter from Dr. Laurina Lyle, biology professor, to the principal of Smyrna High School, a letter she shared with Dr. Sherry Hoppe and Hoppe shared with InnerAction.

"It was science fair time, and I was in a panic," Lyle wrote of that time back in 1969. "What could I do?

"I went to see Ms. Richards for some inspiration…She smiled and…suggested that I do something with Paramecia. Why Paramecia? I never knew. But my science fair …made it to the state competition, and I received an honorable mention.

"I think it was Steven J. Gould who gave this advice to students: Find someone you can follow behind from room to room. Someone who has enough space that you can set up a desk, pull up a chair and have a place of your own in the mansion of their mind.

"Ms. Richards gave me much to think about. Room enough so that I'm still thinking about it 30 years later."

"I am writing you today to offer my assistance…Like Ms. Richards' door was open to me, my door is open to you and your students."

What would happen if we all wrote a letter to a high school teacher, thanking them and offering our assistance? Perhaps more than we could imagine.