In the feature article this week, Ted Studdard reflects on the people who were an influence to him growing up. I think we can all remember wonderful people if we just take the time to do a little reminiscing. Thanks to Mr. Studdard for reminding me of this.

Just a few people who were my early role models and mentors.

•Shirley Peters, one of my elementary school teachers, instilled a love of reading in me. The classroom was totally silent as we listened to the next chapter of “Charlotte’s Web.” Mrs. Peters had everyone’s attention as her voice changed as she depicted the different characters. It made me love reading. It made me want to read more and more. I continue to love reading as it’s a great way to explore other worlds and leave behind the stresses of everyday life for a little bit. I’m a regular at the public library where I always look for mysteries and legal thrillers.

•I had many wonderful Sunday School teachers as a child when I attended Nicholson Baptist Church. One that stands out in my memory is Lynn McConnell, who taught us about Jesus and made us want to get to know him better.

•I’ve often written about how my parents instilled a strong work ethic in me. They weren’t the only ones though. My first boss, Helen Buffington, certainly served as a role model for a strong work ethic. I was only 17 when I started work for her and I had a lot to hear. I have often said over the years that if young people had to go through six weeks of boot camp with Mrs. B they would be much better employees.

•Herman Buffington, my other boss when I started work at the newspaper, was also a great role model to me as he was such a wonderful encourager. He always had a word of encouragement about a photo or article that I wrote that he thought was especially note-worthy. I try to be an encourager to those around me and Mr. B had a huge part in making me realize how much a kind word means to someone.

•In college, I had many wonderful journalism professors who helped teach me about this business that I have been in for 34 years. From Conrad Fink, who many students feared, I learned how to craft a story that catches the readers attention. I learned to ask the hard questions. From George Hough, I learned to keep reaching and step out of my comfort zone to get the story.

These are just a few of the role models and mentors I have had over the years. There are many, many more that I could write about. I cherish all that they taught me. I only hope I can be just a little bit of the role model that they were to me to the young people I encounter.

Angela Gary is an editor with MainStreet Newspapers Inc. She can be reached at

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