Thanks to Teachers: Nicole Riddle
Change was the theme in the science portion of Nicole Riddle's class at Etowah Elementary School. One of Riddle's students, 11 year-old Alexis Jones, recently went through a very rough change of her own. "Mine says 'Daddy's Little Girl, Always,' because I'm the baby in the family," says Alexis as she shows a locket with her dad's picture on it. Then she shows the back of the locket, "it has his birth date and his death date." Alexis' dad, Steven Jones, was killed in a construction accident in February.
"My heart broke for her because she was such a young child," says Riddle. "All I knew was that if it were my child, I would want someone to reach out and just love on her to know she has people that are here who are available to help her." Riddle visited Alexis' home during the several days she missed school, and told her student she wanted to cook Alexis' favorite meal. "She did make chicken and dumplings," says Alexis, smiling. "We had a whole thing of chicken in our house and my dad's favorite food was chicken and dumplings. And, I just wanted that." The next day, Riddle brought Alexis and her family a batch of homemade brownies.
"I think Ms. Riddle puts a whole meaning to how teachers used to be when they really cared about their kids, their students. I think more teachers are afraid to get in with the kids like they used to be," says Alexis' mom Tammy Jones. While the grieving process will take time, Tammy Jones says her daughter is healing, thanks to Nicole Riddle. "I know that he's gone and he will always be by my side, and my family's side," says Alexis of her father. "But, her, when she did that, it made me feel happy. So, now that she's done that, it's encouraged me to get better grades and stuff in school, and feel happy about myself," says Alexis.