Have you seen or heard of Meghan Vogel, the high school runner who helped another fallen runner finish a state championship race. Goggle her and you will quickly find the story.
But here is my take on the story.
You see Meghan was my student in 6th and 7th grade. She has always been a generous helper and an enthusiastic learner. I remember her being excited as we read Redwall by Brian Jaqcues in 6th grade and developing a crush on Robin Hood in 7th grade. Both feature characters that fight the good fight and care for the underdogs. Meghan and I share similar tastes in music. She demanded pictures when I said I had pants belonging to Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame. (A long story for another time) And she listened closely as I shared my tale of meeting Michael Buble’ a few years back. (Another long story involving Mad Libs). I have known Meghan a long time.
As I talk to folks in and around West Liberty High School, we are having a hard time trying to accept that what she did is so attention worthy. It’s just Meghan’s way. I’m pretty sure she has done similar acts before. She has helped cross country runners in places where there were no cameras to catch her. She helps her fellow students daily in class. She comes from a family where to help others is expected. Her mother faithfully coaches our High School track and cross country teams. She volunteers and brings teachers food during parent/teacher nights. Her father served on our Board of Education.(a thankless job) A family involved with a school. Hmmmmm… That makes me think….
Teachers help pick-up fallen students every day. Watch teachers on a play ground anywhere. They pick up children after they have fallen. They dust them off and help them to feel better. In the classroom, teachers help those students who struggle as well as those who don’t need help. We help all of them cross that finish line of learning, passing, and graduating. School is a culture of helping.
Over the weekend at my small school, Meghan Vogel has made world-wide news for helping another. Meanwhile on Sunday, it was also graduation day. Our Valedictorian, Amber Landis, gave her speech thanking all of her teachers, friends and family for helping her achieve her many goals and overcome her Asperger’s Syndrome. Yes, she became Valedictorian despite having Asperger’s. Amber was another one of my former students. I was very proud of her accomplishments and thankful message. Of course I posted it on my Facebook page. Meghan’s mother, Ann, liked the post.
I’m proud to call both powerful young women, Amber and Meghan, heroes, friends and former students!