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Audrianna Imka

Grade: 12

Hathaway Brown School

Instructor: Scott Parsons

Mrs. Franc

Personal Essay/Memoir

Mrs. Franc

From the moment I was born, no one could quite figure me out. In my earliest years I was loud, rambunctious, and refused to follow directions. After being tested for ADHD and various learning disabilities, the confusion continued, as I had no trouble focusing or learning new tasks. Because of my age, I had very little grasp of what was going on; all I knew was that my disobedience stemmed from boredom. Finally, after years of adults struggling to label me, I was deemed "profoundly gifted."

Mrs. Franc was the first teacher who didn't try to label me. She accepted all of my idiosyncrasies, and taught me how to utilize them. Mrs. Franc maintained faith in me when no one else did. When I would misbehave in class, she knew that I didn't need reprimanding, but rather, that I needed a challenge to appease my boredom. She showered me with love and support, but wasn't afraid to tell me when I needed to work on something. Every time she threatened to throw me out the window, I knew she was doing it with love. When an unknown student was vandalizing my artwork, Mrs. Franc made it her mission to find the perpetrator, while making sure to mend my artwork every time. Even though the vandal was never found, I felt a sense of calm after learning that someone always had my back.

At the time, I didn't realize the impact Mrs. Franc would have on my life, but the older I got, the more I began to understand how important these experiences were for me. It was like a switch flipped that year, and the uphill battle turned into a coast back down the hill. My relationships with other people became more effortless as my social skills improved, and I had realized how much potential I had thanks to Mrs. Franc pushing me to be my best self. I no longer thought of my differences from my peers as a bad thing. Mrs. Franc showed me ways in which these differences could serve a greater purpose, and I still utilize these skills, even as I am about to graduate high school.

The moment two years ago when I found out about Mrs. Franc's passing, my body gave out. I fell against a wall and dropped to the ground, choking out sobs. It felt as though the only person who had ever truly believed in me was now gone. I questioned the fairness of the world. I realized that she had transformed me, not by changing who I was, but by teaching me to embrace every aspect of myself. Since that moment, all of my biggest triumphs have been for Mrs. Franc. I push myself to run faster in cross country meets for her, and to sing louder on stage in hopes that she will hear me from wherever she is. Since her passing, I have become more motivated to be my best in everything I do, wishing that she is looking down on me and smiling at my accomplishments. The amount of pain I felt as a result of losing her helped me realize just how much she meant to me, and just how much comfort I had felt knowing she was so nearby. Even though she feels lightyears away now, sometimes, when I drive past her house, a colorful bird flies alongside my car for a moment, or a leaf flutters down onto my windshield, and I know that she will be with me for the rest of my life.