Teacher cared for her school

Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ryan School isn’t a large place. Some 120 students, spread out through kindergarten to eighth grade, attend the school. It’s an older, art deco style building, certainly not the modern ideal of an educational facility.

What makes Ryan special, however, isn’t its state-of-the-art facility, it’s its people.

One of those people was Pam Sieweke.

I first met Pam about two years ago when she called the newspaper and talked to me about the possibility of writing for the newspaper. As a small school in a small place, she said Ryan School didn’t get a lot of attention and she wanted the students to have the opportunity to see their name in print.

Once she started her project, she kept it going with gusto. Each week, Pam wrote about the happenings at Ryan, including the special visitors who stopped by the school or the programs the students enjoyed. She was a faithful contributor, always making sure to include as much information about the students as possible.

When we had the chance to meet in person, I found out that Pam’s love of her students extended into more than her writing. I had the chance to visit her in her classroom and you could tell Pam was a great teacher. She was the kind of teacher who students would always remember and would come back and visit in their later years just to thank her for all she’d done.

Unfortunately, that was not to be.

Pam was on her way home from a Ryan basketball game last week when she was involved in a car accident. She died in the accident, leaving behind a husband, two daughters and a son, as well as a host of family, friends and co-workers who love her.

In a move Pam would have loved, one of her students, David Warren, contributed his own news about his teacher this week.

“She was a very hard worker and she always had a big smile on her face and she never complained. She was loved by all who were fortunate enough to know her. She will truly be missed.”

I’m sure she will. But she won’t be forgotten. This week, three teachers at Ryan contacted the Enquirer about wanting to continue Pam’s tradition of writing for the newspaper. Her influence lives on as evidenced by those who want to continue recognizing the students, something she saw as very important.

There’s no better testament to her life and her work.

I know she would be pleased.

– Leada Gore is publisher and editor of The Hartselle Enquirer. Her column appears each Wednesday.