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Congratulations to The Times for the excellent Sunday "Art of the Teacher" article recognizing the Master Teachers of our area. Teachers are fundamental in the positive development of the next generation, that long term they are the key to a healthy, happy, peaceful, successful future.
Permit me to submit one more name to the Master Teacher list that has had such a positive influence to more than 4,000 students the past 20 years in the Gainesville system: Lillian Welch, who retired in 2009.
I am an 84-year-old senior citizen student of the city school system who has been on campus for 10 years, the last 13 semesters as a pupil of Prof. Welch in swim and aerobics classes.
Lillian Welch cared deeply about each of her students; not only that they accomplished the curriculum successfully, but also on a personal basis. She did this by becoming one of them, both in and out of the pool. Each class had the opportunity to share their goals with not only the teacher, but each other. This made for a togetherness whereby everyone in the class felt like "family" that many former students still feel today.
She encouraged them to stay healthy, by daily exercise; to use their time wisely to achieve their goals and to have purpose in their lives. The students were motivated, not only to pass, but they wanted to please, such a caring teacher that they had come to love, admire and respect.
At the conclusion of each semester, I would often poll the students as to their Teacher of Year. The vote was always 100 percent for Lillian Welch.