In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we're celebrating teachers who've made an impact on our lives. Bridget Moynahan, Jumpstart National Board Member and actress and star of CBS' Blue Bloods, shares why she believes teachers play such a critical role in our society.
Teachers. They are so important. When I look back at some of my favorite teachers, I can’t help but feel lucky to have had so many wonderful people in my life that are passionate about education and caring for others.
I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, Longmeadow, where I went to school until I was 18 years old. Although there are many teachers that stand out in my mind, I will never forget my junior year English teacher, Mr. Leblanc. Mr. Leblanc stood in the hallway every morning and greeted every student as they walked into school. He stood calmly and peacefully with his hands clasped behind his back and a smile on his face, wearing slacks and a white collared short-sleeved shirt. While I’m sure that he had other shirts, this is how I distinctly remember him. One thing that never changed about his wardrobe was a button that he wore every single day. The button read, “I CARE.”
Mr. Leblanc was and is one of the most thoughtful people that I have ever met. He was a passionate teacher who not only cared about homework and test scores; he cared about his students. I will never forget the time that he took me out of my typing class (yes, we had typing class, and yes this makes me feel old!) because he noticed that I wasn’t acting like myself and thought something might be wrong. He was right. I was thankful to be seen that day and I was thankful to be heard. He helped me when I was down and steered me back in the right direction. I am forever grateful for that day in class, and for teachers like Mr. Leblanc that look past the textbooks and curricula, and into the eyes of their students.
Mr. Leblanc taught for 40 years. I have not spoken to or seen him since I graduated from Longmeadow High School in 1989. I recently read, to no surprise, that he is volunteering 30 hours a week in a nearby town. Why? Because HE CARES. Mr. Leblanc, if you’re out there and somehow find yourself reading this blog, thank you for noticing, thank you for listening, and thank you for believing.
All across the world, teachers are changing the way children think, giving young adults a chance, and providing hope for a better tomorrow. I am so appreciative of all the amazing teachers that I’ve had, and still have in my life, as I can continue to grow and learn new things every day. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to Mr. Leblanc and to all teachers out there making a difference!
We want to hear about a teacher who’s made an impact on your life! Share three adjectives that describe an influential teacher you know here.
Bridget, I have raised my girls in Longmeadow and actually have been fortunate to teach here (Center School) for the last 25 years. Two out of three of my daughters were also lucky enough to have Roger LeBlanc as their English teach. His impact still resonates. His caring way certainly was a model for my teaching as well. Thank you for giving him this well deserved reputation.
Hey Bridget, (love Blue Bloods!) As a 1976 Grad of Longmeadow High, Mr. Roger LeBlanc coached my brother and later, myself in Freshman Baseball. He was a class act and treated all of us with a perfect blend of respect and authority. Fine man and great coach! One of the few people you actually keep in your memory bank.
I too graduated from Longmeadow High School and without a doubt Roger LeBlanc was one of the finest men ever to have worked in Longmeadow. Teacher, coach, just a total class act. To see this tribute is very heartwarming!
Bridget- Thank you for sharing the importance of your teacher, Mr.Leblanc, in your developmental years! He wrote a college recommendation for our oldest child, Meghan, when she applied and was accepted to Amherst College. He was a wonderful, caring teacher who made a difference in many lives!! BUT, I want to thank you for responding to our third (we have 4) child’s request for an interview when she was at Williams Middle School in Longmeadow. She was given an assignment to interview someone about a possible career choice. She knew you grew up two blocks away from us in Longmeadow (we live on Oxford Road) and she asked me if she could interview you about being a model/actress. I said sure and we found out how to reach you. You answered her phone call and were exceedingly kind and generous in responding to her. Our daughter, Kaitlin, was a three sport athlete at Longmeadow, like you, and she looked up to you. I was so happy for her that you responded so genuinely and graciously! She went on to Harvard and played lacrosse and is now in a pediatric dentistry residence at Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital! Your kindness made a difference…thank you!
Patricia Peters Martin, PhD
I too had Mr LeBlanc as a teacher. As did many of my friends that loved and learned so much from his class! Many of us have moved back here after college and the jobs we took early in our careers. My brother was in your class and we applaud you success and are happy with ours!