Almost every student has been impacted by a special teacher — someone who encourages you, builds you and believes in you. These are the teachers we don’t forget, who create a lasting impact in the world through their students.
One special teacher in Waco, Texas has gone above and beyond to transform a student’s life nearly twenty years after he left her classroom. Her student, Chris Barrington, is a 30-year-old man with special needs who received his first-ever birthday party recently, thanks to the former teacher who has decided to give him as many blessings as she can.
Michell Girard, a special education teacher, remembered Barrington well when police called and told her that they had picked him up. But Girard hadn’t seen him in years, according to KWTX.
Barrington had been a student of hers while he was in junior high school, and she hadn’t spoken to him since. Surprised, but still caring, she decided to investigate her old pupil’s situation.
Police had discovered Barrington wandering alone along a highway in Texas after about two days of walking. They learned that the man’s father had recently slipped into the last stages of leukemia, growing too weak to move and certainly too weak to look after his son.
Even worse, Barrington had no other relatives and nowhere to go.
But the 30-year-old, who has only reached the mental development level of a 6-year-old, remembered the name of his old teacher and gave it to the police.
The Gatesville Sheriff’s Department got in touch with Girard not long afterward, wondering if she would get involved.
“I said ‘what happens if I don’t take him? Will he get in a group home?'” the educator told KWTX. “They said ‘no he’ll he’d go in to an institution.’ I said ‘not on my watch he’s not,'” she added. The teacher embraced Barrington with open arms, determined to provide him with everything he needed.
“He deserves a good life,” she said. “He’s had a hard life.”
“He’s never had a birthday present, a birthday party, he’s never had Christmas, thanksgiving, nothing,” Girard added. “So this year is going to be full of firsts.”
She started by throwing Chris a birthday party. The young man smiled shyly as he received his first present, his first birthday cake, and hugs from Girard’s friends and neighbors.
Members of the community came together to help with the party, including a local fishing company called JMB Fishing, which gave Chris his first boat ride.
“Chris is happy to come out on Lake Waco and ride around on a boat. That’s all he wants to do,” owner Jimmy Bennett told KWTX.
Barrington’s father has since passed away. But thanks to Girard, Chris has found his way into a loving home. And according to the teacher, no one could be more deserving.
“Everyone who meets him, just falls in love,” she wrote on Facebook. “He is so funny and appreciative of everything, especially since he has been denied so many opportunities.”
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