I gave an "INSPIRE" key to my dear friend Delores Mayes. Below you will find a letter I wrote to nominate her for an award. She won and was honored this past August.
April 12, 2014
To Whom it May Concern,
As I read the description for the Salute to Black Educators Cornerstone Award, I can't help but reflect on the numerous ways it describes my amazing friend and teacher, Delores Mayes.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dee when she joined the Osceola Creek family in 2006. She started off teaching Language Arts to our regular and advanced students, but it soon became apparent that her talents were not being utilized to their fullest extent. Mrs. Mayes had the insight, compassion and heart to touch the lives of our lowest performing students. As good as many teachers are, it takes a special teacher to connect with the student that feels left behind in school and in life. As a mother to her own beautiful, talented, intelligent daughter, Mrs. Mayes puts on her mother hat and teaches her students with the loving, inspiring heart she used to teach her own child to become an outstanding citizen. When many teachers are strict with their students, it comes off as though the teacher only cares about keeping the room quiet and getting through the lesson. However, when Mrs. Mayes is firm with her students, they know it's because she wants the best for them. She always seems to find a way to make even a simple reading lesson exciting. I recently entered her room to find the lights turned down low and her students immersed in a play they were acting out together.
Aside from her incredible teaching ability, Delores Mayes has inspired her students to look outside of their own little world and discover that there are others that desperately need their help. For years now, Delores has been collecting donations for many of Palm Beach County's shelters and even an elementary school's parent education group. I have had the pleasure of helping Dee collect and organize the donations we receive from our students and their families. When it comes to delivering these items though, it's all Dee. After running the program for our students that arrive to school early and stay late, she still makes time for delivering donations at least once a week. She brings back the stories of hope and gratitude and shares them with her students, which inspires them to continue to give more. She even participated in a sleep-in at a park to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty. We have a resourceful former student's parent that donates items from her extreme couponing hobby. Dee is the one that is arranging to have this parent speak with the staff and parents at one of the parent education meetings at a low income elementary school that receives our donations so thankfully.
As my dear friend nears her retirement, when many choose to coast, Delores Mayes is still running strong! She is a daily reminder to her students, their parents and her community that everyone has the power and civil obligation to make our community and our world a better place.
Osceola Creek Middle School - Media Specialist