Teacher Words Matter

Teacher Words Matter
Posted on 12/02/2015

A student wrote a heartfelt essay about her school janitor and won $500 plus an all-expense paid trip for the pair to attend the Missouri High School Football Championship in St. Louis.

Poplar Bluff High School junior Katie Huskey and long-time custodian Jan Ethridge enjoyed the Fort Osage versus Chaminade game together on Saturday, Nov. 28, receiving on-the-field recognition and a behind-the-scenes tour of Edward Jones Dome.

Huskey said she chose Ethridge in the Missouri National Education Association-sponsored writing contest, Teacher Words Matter, because of the custodian’s welcoming smile and positive influence on the lives of cohorts of high schoolers.

“It’s not big things that matter. She inspires us to do little things every day,” Huskey said of Ethridge. “Her job title is technically custodian, but that’s not why she comes to work every day.”

Ethridge, who has been employed by the R-I school district for 17 years, explained that students seem to confide in her, so she takes it upon herself to offer them some guidance.

“It’s me being a Christian. This is my training field,” Ethridge stated. “Just saying ‘Hi’ to a child, you would be surprised how it brightens their day.”


Cutline: Katie Huskey (left) is pictured in the counseling office with her inspiration, affectionately known as Miss Jan.

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