Education Reform

Please Send Your Thoughts and Prayers to Vivian Connell

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Over the past few years, I have traveled several times to North Carolina, one of the states where the Governor and Legislature are doing their best to destroy public education and the teaching profession.

I met a beautiful, dynamic woman named Vivian Connell. Vivian is a National Board Certified Teacher who decided to go to law school. Teachers in North Carolina are near the bottom nationally in teacher pay.

After my last visit, I learned that Vivian was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is a degenerative disease that has no cure.

Vivian began writing a blog called FinALS, in which she chronicled her determination to face the end of her life with dignity, courage, and a bucket list. The bucket list consisted of things she had always planned to do with her children, as well as a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., with students, and other deferred plans. She began doing them. Each entry described her heroic battle with this deadly disease. She faces her struggle with courage, wit, and determination.

I corresponded privately with Vivian, but had not heard from her lately. I checked her blog and learned that the latest entry was February 25. As usual, it was filled with Vivian’s candor and intention to squeeze joy out of every last minute of her life and make it meaningful.

I checked with my friend (and hers) Bertis Downs of Athens, Georgia. Bertis told me that Vivian had recently been in the hospital. Apparently, she is out of the hospital now.

Please read her blog, and if you are inclined, write her. Her email is [email protected]

She deserves our love and admiration and whatever prayers and thoughts we can send.

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