We all have people in our lives who we remember for their profound influence and often times, those people are teachers. I was blessed during my 16 years of school to have many excellent teachers who inspired, educated and blessed me. One such teacher was Mrs. Luella Zuercher, who taught me in Spanish I and II, as well as Junior English and Senior English. Yes, that’s right, I had the same teacher for both English and Spanish.
Mrs. Zuercher was a tough teacher. She wanted us to be prepared for college so we often worked on our writing and analysis skills such as taking a piece of text or information and responding to it. There’s many “Mrs. Z” stories to tell, but for some reason what I remember most is when we would be given 10-20 minutes at the beginning of class and instructed to write on some random topic. Many classmates hated those assignments, I adored them. I loved the challenge of taking a random topic and developing a full essay about it. I have to admit that I got pretty good at developing an opening, three points and a closing on just about any topic.
My favorite memory is when our principal/superintendent made a joke during chapel (it was a Christian high school) that Mrs. Zuercher could make people write about the color green and later that day, she decided it was a good idea! I wrote that the color green has both good and bad connotations and detailed its usual cultural references.
I truly believe that this skill helped me more in my career than it ever did in college. It encouraged my imagination, developed my writing skills and helped me become better at planning what I write.
I will also always remember that Mrs. Z was one of the teachers who came to my high school graduation reception at my grandmother’s house. She gave me a teacup and saucer, if I remember correctly.
Mrs. Z died after a long illness this last weekend. In her years at Berean, she touched hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. I know for certain she touched mine.
As Christians, we believe that we will see each other again in heaven. I believe this about Mrs. Z. I celebrate her life, and thank her for her encouragement, love and inspiration.