loved Miss Paeck, and he told my mom, who shared the news with me
over the phone. I went silent, put the phone down, and just started to
cry. Miss Paeck was an inspiration, as much so as any teacher ever
featured on film. She will forever be my favorite teacher and will forever
be the teacher who taught me the most in the classroom about life. In
fact, I am still learning from her today as I think about her patience,
kindness, and sincerity. I hope to be like the Miss Paeck I remember at
age 29 when I find myself at the same age.
Once I had time to pull myself together, I searched the Internet
to see if there had been a service of some sort. It was hard to find
because I had only known her as Miss Paeck, but with the help of my
uncle, I was able to gather some information. I found out that Miss
Paeck had married before her passing, and her new last name was Scott.
The online information read, “Joann was born on July 19, 1973 and
passed away on March 4, 2014. Joann was a resident of Manhattan
Beach, California.” The funeral was held on March 14th 2014 at
10:00am at American Martyrs Church. I also found that “[Miss Paeck’s
family] asked any donations to be given to the Hermosa Beach
Education Foundation in Joann’s name.”
In true Hollywood teacher fashion, all donations for Miss Paeck
went back to her students. One thing that made me really sad at first
about the fact that Miss Paeck’s life was cut short was that she never
had children. I do not think I have ever met someone better suited for
motherhood, but Miss Paeck gave her heart and soul to teaching, just
like most women teachers in movies. She put the needs of her students
before her own needs, and this is how I chose to think of her now. Miss
Paeck was a mother, and she had many children over the years. While
it is not fair to hold any teacher to a seemingly impossible standard, she
showed uncommon passion and commitment, just like Jaime Escalante
in the biopic Stand and Deliver.
Hollywood is often criticized for being plastic and fake. The
movies are thought of as idyllic, and the realities they depict are not
thought of as feasible. The characters constructed are thought to
possess and unattainable perfection—and there may be some
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