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COLUMN: Speaking to future leaders is a humbling experience

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By Candis Carpenter

A few weeks back I was invited to speak in front of doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers and a slew of other important people.
As nervous as I could be, knees knockin’ and all, I walked to the front of the room.
“Um, Urhm, I’m Candis and I’m glad to be here today.” I’m almost sure you’re reading this like I sounded professional. No, it wasn’t. Read it like this “Um, Urhm, I’m Candis (screech) and I’m glad (stutter) to be here today.” Yeah, that sounds more like it.
I was there to talk about life experiences and the way that similar scenarios affect people differently. In front of a room packed with sixth graders I began my talk.
See, they aren’t yet doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers and all those other important folks, but one day they will be, and that is nerve-racking. Not to mention half of the talk was filled with me retelling stories that my sister (their teacher) had already told, in her perspective, which we all know is completely wrong.
She told them I used to rock out to Aaron Carter. No I didn’t! I quietly listened to him through my headphones. She also told them that I was the troublemaker! I may have gotten in trouble but it was because she was a tattletale. See how awful I had it growing up?
She was a quiet, sneaky girl that could get her way by manipulating others, which more often than not I got the blame for. When she pushed me and I defended myself I got grounded. When we shared a room and decided to split it down the middle, I got in trouble because I wouldn’t let her use the door. It was on my side and she clearly had a window she could use to exit if her heart so desired. Now I’m not a dramatic person but rules are rules and she agreed to them.
In middle school, I never once thought my sister, the quiet shy girl she is, would ever become a teacher. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what I thought she would become, some days she would make a good psychopath, but other than that I had no idea where life would take her.
However, in high school, my views changed. Instantly she turned into my mentor. I looked up to her – in more ways than one. She taught me patience, kindness and most importantly that Aaron Carter is not cool. Still to this day I look up to her.
She has something about her that makes you tune in and listen all while setting you straight. Maybe that is what makes her such a good teacher. Her patience is uncanny, her teaching ability is beyond words and she truly represents the heart and soul of teachers nationwide.  
So for all you teachers out there, just know, that more than likely you were teaching people years before you received your degree. It is because of you all that we are educated enough to become doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers and honorable citizens. Thank you for what you do. Your leadership paves the way for our future, our children’s future and the world as a whole.