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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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Ms. Shelene Anderson: A Twist of Fate

Ms.+Shelene+Anderson+cuts+a+piece+of+laminated+paper+while+preparing+to+teach+a+lesson+to+her+class.
Photo by Tori Greene
Ms. Shelene Anderson cuts a piece of laminated paper while preparing to teach a lesson to her class.

Decorated with foreign art, pictures of students who’ve graduated and taped up couches from students who’ve gotten a little too comfortable lies classroom AT204. Behind a cluttered desk, sits a brilliant teacher whose hair gleams bright ginger in the light.

“I think God has a plan,” Ms. Shelene Anderson said. “I wanted to be a marine scientist and in the military, but life happened.”

Becoming a teacher never appeared on Anderson’s bucket list. Growing up, she filled herself with ambition and determination, but in her senior year, her future career took a turn for the better.

“I was confident in myself.” Anderson said. “I was smart, but I stressed out over everything.”

At age 21, she served three years in the army alongside her marine boyfriend, Eliseo. They attended college together, but eventually a school bought out the academy. In even worse news, Eliseo transferred to Belgium spontaneously. In an instant, in her intent to live her perfect life in paradise, she had to make a decision: either stay in Hawaii by herself or choose to not live her life in isolation.

“I felt like I needed to move, but I didn’t know where,” Ms. Anderson said. “So I closed my eyes and pointed on a map, and my finger landed on Pennsylvania. I applied to two schools there, and I moved.”

As each eyelid closed, darkness encompassed her vision. She realized that her finger landing would guide her to where she would live for the rest of her life. So for a few gentle moments, she decided to soak in the inky scenery that lived behind her vision, each breath becoming a consistent reminder of the lost memories that surround her. With hesitation, she opened her eyes to see where she had placed her finger: Pennsylvania.

Soon, she moved to her new home and began attending school. After college, she then joined the army. Over time, her legs began to fracture because of constant running. But the military has always been something that composes her identity. Without wavering, she decided to continue with her chosen profession, but her commander tried to push her out.

“I was super sad and felt betrayed because that’s what I thought I was going to do for my whole life,” Anderson said. “My commander tried to kick me out of the military, and I had to go to the Military Board and convince them that I could do my job.”

Sitting in high chairs with gigantic eyes that seemed to get bigger as time passed by, and hiding behind a long curved table that surrounded Anderson at the Military Board that would determine her fate. Anxiety pulsed through her chest, and her heart began to pound violently as she stated her case.

“All eyes were on me,” Anderson said, “and I was anxious.”

In the end, she won the case, but she wouldn’t allow herself to reenlist in the army because her legs did not function well enough. Eventually, she finished school and became a teacher. In time, destiny swept her to Mansfield, Texas, but never in a million years did she think she would end up in this profession. A small and still voice led her to where she needed to go.

“I honestly don’t know how I became a teacher. Probably psychopathy or craziness, but I love influencing others to love history.”

Ms. Anderson gives a personal experience within each lesson; a time of triumph, discouragement or sometimes even indifference. Each season shapes her heart and mind. Inside every word she speaks to her students, she deposits memories of cheerful laughter in Hawaii and silent thumping on her desk in class.

“Sometimes I think God puts you where you want to, and it’s not always obvious,” Anderson said. “Who knows? Maybe I’m supposed to help a kid and then the next year I change careers.”

As we get old, fate becomes a thing you can’t shake. It blossoms into a force that intertwines through life’s struggles. Everyone carries a story, and within those narratives reside testimonies. They shape and bend lives. Day by day, Anderson consistently redefines what it looks like for a teacher to love without borders. She aspires to become an educator who allows Jesus to whisper subtly through her ear, causing each student to remember peace, love, and community. Heaven resides in room AT204.  

“Either way, I’m fo’sho’ going to heaven. I’m saving up bonus points.”

About the Contributors
Tori Greene
Tori Greene, The Arena Photo Editor
My name is Tori Greene, I'm a senior at Legacy and I'm the photo editor for The Arena.
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  • S

    Sara GergesSep 9, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    This is such a beautifully written story! So captivating. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  • J

    Jake StacksSep 7, 2017 at 10:37 am

    This is so good. Keep writing dude!

  • A

    AllEyezonMeSep 6, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    This is a great read and excellent story captured by the writer. Good stuff. . Keep writing!!