Brian Reedy: Carson City educator Laurel Terry’s legacy will live on
Years ago, as a teacher I had this one student who came across as an enthusiastic person who liked to be challenged. She worked great with other students and was a real positive part of the class.
Her name is Alison Terry. She has a sincere sense of empathy and desire to make a difference. In fact, I selected her as the student to interview Hillary Clinton back in 2000 when Clinton was in Fallon for hearings about the health issues the community had. Alison was the one I knew who would take the opportunity seriously and be effective — and she was.
Looking back all these years later, she still stands out in my mind as one of the most remarkable students I had in my 20 years as a teacher. When you have a student like that, you wonder how she’s able to be so mature, so genuine and so positive.
Fortunately, I discovered at least one half of the source of all of those qualities. Her mother, Laurel Terry, was working as a dean at Carson Middle School when I first got to really know her. I briefly knew Laurel as a mother of a student, but I really got to know her over the years. She’s absolutely this force of goodness. Remarkably so.
We worked together on a few things over the years. Often, she would pop into my room if she was visiting there for a meeting or something. She would come by just to say hi or to share a photo book from a family member she thought I would like, or to just tell me she saw my wife (Lily works in the high school library) and just wanted to tell me how wonderful Lily is and how fortunate I am to be married to someone as amazing as she is (I know this!).
Over the years, Laurel became a mentor for me. I had taken some of her professional development classes she co-taught. She honestly always made a long day of training much more fun, relevant and more exciting. She was teaching all of us how to be at our best for all students. She helped make me a better educator.
When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and realized I may not be able to stay in the classroom as a teacher, Laurel was the first person in the entire school district I contacted. Before she even knew what I was in her office for, she just came up and gave me a big, genuine hug. She had great ideas and we worked on our idea of having me teaching technology to teachers. She would send me applicable research and sent careful revisions to the proposal we were doing together.
Knowing how difficult my health was becoming, she sent me a book on health and faith. In the card she wrote, “(I am) someone who would like the entire universe to be at peace, to have all hurts healed and all of mankind blessed!”
She lived this philosophy every single day of her all too short life here on Earth.
Laurel is much in that class of amazing and highly influential educators whom have made a huge impact on Carson City and have left us all too soon. Larry Holloway, Mary Berry, and my dear friends Eric Anderson and Glen Adair. All them possessed a real sense of humanity at its best and enthusiastically helped make Carson City School District more amazing.
Though my heart breaks once again, I lean more on celebrating her life and the small, yet meaningful part I was able to share with her. She will never be forgotten!
More so, her legacy will continue through her daughter Alison, who already embodies so much of the best of her mother, as well as her son and husband.
Brian Reedy is a former photography and video production teacher at Carson High School.