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I met Vivian Connell when I was in North Carolina a few years ago. She was on a panel moderated by John Merrow, consisting of NC teachers who left teaching, usually for financial reasons. Vivian left teaching to go to law school. The audience consisted of legislators and policy makers. I recall Vivian as beautiful and vivacious. She became a devoted member of the Network for Public Education.
Sometime since then, this dynamic woman learned she had ALS, a fatal and degenerative disease. She faced with courage and dignity, determined to live her life as fully as possible.
This afternoon I received this, one of her last posts. She explains the disease, how she has coped, and the life lessons she has learned.
I share it with you because it is a story with special meaning on Christmas Eve. It is about living and dying and facing both with integrity, candor, and honor. Vivian is still teaching. She is teaching all of us.