The power of a story is limitless. We asked some of our corps members and alums to share their stories with you, unscripted.
October 9, 2020
It was a little after 6:00 PM on Sunday, August 16th when I finally arrived back home. I had spent the previous five days in the cancer ward at Novant Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, undergoing my sixth and final round of chemo treatments. Typically, I'd spend the next several days in bed, allowing my body to slowly recover. This time, however, I would only have 14 hours to rest before the official start of my second year of teaching!
When I awoke that Monday, every part of my body was screaming at me to stay in bed. But I was so excited to start the day—I could not wait to meet my new students. All 126 of them! I had been looking forward to the first day of school all summer long and wasn’t going to to miss it for anything.
I teach eighth grade math at Albemarle Road Middle School in Charlotte. Exactly one week after my school had closed its doors due to COVID-19, I ended up in the emergency room, where I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of stage IV non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. My doctor told me that I would not be able to continue teaching during my chemo. I told him that I wanted to try anyway.
Thankfully, it’s the only thing he’s been wrong about, so far.
As a math teacher, I love numbers, but as a relationship-builder, I love stories. As my own story got out into the world this past spring (yes, I’m the "Ellen cancer teacher” guy), I learned in a very real way the limitless power of having a network of support. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of responses from my colleagues at TFA, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and all over the world.
That encouragement helped me stay positive in the face of this extraordinarily difficult challenge. My medical care team swears that maintaining a positive mindset has improved my body's response to the treatment. I could never thank you all enough for how your kind words and stories and support have helped me.
That’s the thing—stories have the power to change people. My students' stories have definitely changed me. Below are powerful stories from our network. I hope you'll take the time to listen and to record and share your own. You never know who you might change.
Humbly, Wil Loesel (Charlotte-Piedmont Triad '19)
Teaching During the Pandemic
Shawna Fields (CPT '13) sits down with two of her former students, now colleagues, Amber Cruz (CPT '19) and Karen Huezo (CPT '20) to reflect on their experiences teaching.
Quite the Packaged Deal
Roommates, best friends, and former co-workers Kendra Harrison (CPT '17) and Melanie Foligno (CPT '17) laugh their way through childhood memories of school and their time working together.
From Executive Director to Executive Director
Former TFA-Charlotte Executive Director Tim Hurley (Greater Delta '02) interviews Former TFA-Piedmont Triad Executive Director Nafeesha Irby Mitchell (CPT '09).
I Miss Teaching Each and Every Day
Fellow alums and law school classmates Cynthia Hernandez (CPT '16) and Anna Kathryn Barnes (CPT '15) talk about how their time in the corps has impacted their experiences earning a law degree.
More Than a Teacher
Satahi Bevels (Miami-Dade '12) asks Ernesto Godinez (CPT '19) questions about his high school experience and time as a student in her class; Ernesto asks Satahi about why she decided to become a teacher.