COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) – “There is life after your ugly.” – This motto is a way of life for Columbia High School teacher Amy Terrell. She adopted this way of thinking and living after the devastating loss of her 6-year-old daughter to brain cancer.
Terrell’s positive mindset inspired the faculty and students at the high school, so much so that 11th grader Alayna Moree nominated Terrell for WDAM’s Golden Apple Award.
Faculty, staff and students packed the library on Wednesday, waiting to surprise Terrell with her award.
Before Terrell was lured in, Assistant Principal Ashely Haddox said Terrell was the best recipient for the award.
“Amy, you look at her, and you know that she is just love all around,” Haddox said. “She loves her coworkers, she loves her students, she loves her family, and she is just a joy to be around every day.”
Terrell’s nominator, Moree, called her a guardian angel and a hero who fought through the worst life could throw at you.
“She has been through all this immense pain, and she hasn’t let it affect her teaching,” Moree said. “She cares about everybody’s well-being as well as their education. She’s just like the school mom.”
Terrell may be like a mom to these students, but when it was time to surprise her with the award, she told us she is a real mom who suffered the worst loss.
“In 2017, my daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer, and we didn’t let her diagnosis, which we knew was gonna be fatal, be a death sentence to her,” Terrell said. “It was a sentence to live and enjoy life and to restore that to everybody. It doesn’t matter what your ugly is. It may not be death, it may not be cancer, but whatever your ugly is that you are going through, there is life after your ugly. You have to take control of that.”
Terrell said she took control by staying positive and loving her students the way she loves her children. She said as a boy mom now, the girls in her classroom are like her own.
“I may not ever fix my daughter’s ponytail, but I can fix somebody else’s,” Terrell said.
She said she will always be there for the school and her students the way they are there for her.
“There are days I don’t want to get out of bed, but these people rallied around me in the worst time of my life,” Terrell said.
If you would like to nominate an outstanding educator in your school go to wdam.com/goldenapple.
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