If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Firstly, I apologize for the photo quality of this image. I got super excited and couldn't wait for the actual print magazine to land on my doorstep, so I took a screenshot of the online digital issue. I promise to replace this fuzzy version with a real photograph the second I get it!
Here's the thing with this blog post: I have tried to write it every day for the last week but each time, my fingers just float about the letters. I have been featured on the covers of incredible magazines. I have been featured on VH1 and Good Morning America. And nothing, not one other mention, means as much as this one.
My biggest dream has always been to teach. Even when I was studying law, I'd spend my afternoon library breaks fantasizing about teaching future attorneys, and inspiring the hearts of the next generation of change makers. Some people think being a movie star is every girl's dream, but for me, I couldn't even utter the words, "I want to be a teacher," without feeling the flips begin in my core. All of my personal heroes were/are teachers: Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Pearl Buck, Robert Frost, Rita Dove... (I could seriously go on). When I got a 4.0 in college, it wasn't a fluke. I am madly in love with learning, and education, and I guess my point is, this recognition is a big deal. Perhaps, the biggest.
As my photography career continues to rise to new heights, many people find it odd that I remain so steadfastly loyal to the business of building fires in other people's hearts and I wish I had a clear way to articulate exactly why. It is a passion that consumes me. I can't begin talking about it in public, because I get so emphatic, talking super fast, quoting academic articles, nerd flag waving so super high, and I suppose I start to sound more crazy that capable, and that's not what I want. It's kind of frustrating! I am a writer, I love language, and yet, I don't know how to assign words to this most powerful calling.
So, no, I don't have a beautiful poem, and I don't have a symbolic image that comes close, but I do know, and want to share, this: I was born to be a teacher, it is my most sincere and profound honor, and being selected by professionals whom I highly respect, as a top 10 educator in the whole wide giant world to watch this year, well, this moment is pretty much everything. At the end of the day, I don't feel successful based on the number of celebrities I have captured, or the number of popularity points I've racked up, even though I am profoundly grateful for all of the blessings I have be afforded. It is the moments spent sharing my passion with others, on the shoulders of my idols, that will forever be the hi-lights of my career.