“Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.” By Andy Rooney
This will begin the profiles of “Dream Team II”, now very busy providing English education to Copey Learning Center students.
I selected Jane Rutledge as our first profile to share because of her continuous 4 years of involvement with the Copey Learning Center. She is not a stranger to many of you “Friends” and certainly not a stranger at all to the Copey community.
Jane and I first met during our college days about 50 years ago. Her husband Gail and I were fraternity brothers. Following college, we lived during all those years on opposite ends of the country which limited our personal contact.
Gail passed away in January 2017. In honor of Gail’s life, a scholarship was presented to the Copey Learning Center in his name. This gesture kicked off a series of events and we next find Jane with her bags packed heading to the Copey Learning Center to work for three months as a volunteer teacher.
Jane arrived in Copey in early August, 2017. She begins her work in Copey not much different than she was in the early college days. Strong, determined, devoted, and energized, Jane began making her unforgettable mark on the children and community.
She taught students to read English and the moms were taught to knit. The Jane I last saw fifty years earlier in Virginia was the same Jane now in Copey “making a difference”.
Jane completed her time on the ground in Copey in November 2017 but her work with the Copey students has never ended. She welcomed and hosted the Pathway Project students when they arrived in the United States in 2018 and hosted the 2019 Pathway Project students the following year. In the Fall of 2020, Jane was the first to join the Dream Team to take on the teaching challenges involving the start of the Copey Learning Center’s on-line educational project. And, she is the only returning 2020 Dream Team member who has joined the 2021 Dream Team.
As a retired educator, there is not sufficient room in this Post to account for Jane’s long and sterling career as a classroom teacher. Her accomplishments are many and well deserved. She comes from a family of teachers and is the key reason we can call this semester’s group of volunteers…Dream Team II, a true “servant with a heart”.
Jane was featured in our college’s Alumni Magazine, the Fall-Winter 2017-2018 issue covering her work in Copey. In the article written by Monica Hoel, Emory & Henry College Alumni Director, Jane is quoted saying, “I found the most beautiful country, and the most heartwarming people who have a tremendous love for their families. The people are amazing!”
Today, I observed Jane in her virtual classroom with her Copey students. There are not words to describe the joy on the faces of these young students. They know and understand they are having a rare and special experience each week while in the presence of really wonderful teachers who care. The students’ moms and dads also know this is something special. No other community can compete.
Next week, you will meet another Dream Team II member. Let us know how you feel.