CHS Seniors celebrate their English teacher

Published 3:21 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2020

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On June 4, the day before their graduation, 10 seniors from Columbia Early College High School paid their beloved teacher, Dr. Karen Carter, a visit at her front porch. They had checked in on her three times previously during her quarantine and took another chance to hang out.

Shortly after 5 p.m., in car pools, the seniors arrived, clutching their yearbooks for signage.

“I sat on my front porch socially distanced, wearing a mask, and this English teacher that I am noticed they were taking their writing very seriously,” says Dr. Carter. “We passed yearbooks around for more than an hour enjoying our time together.”

To the left of the front porch banners on the brick wall displayed congratulations to the Class of 2020 as they ate Dr. Carter’s homemade sugar cookies and drank bottled water.

“These are the cookies you promised us,” several said, while reminiscing about the classroom days long gone but in reality, time away only since March 13.

“I thought I was surprising them with the cookies, but they surprised me with their request,” says Dr. Carter.

“Dr. Carter, read us your poem about the little lizard, then the one about the tadpole in the water ditch,” asks senior Damian Marlow.

“We want to hear your poetry, the ones you read us the day before Mother’s Day when we came to check up on you,” says Da’Shawn Spencer.

“I told them that, outside the classroom, I had not done a poetry reading since 2006,” says Dr. Carter. But she got her poetry notebook, her laptop computer, while seniors sat on the steps, stood a half moon around the open front porch, and listened to poetry Dr. Carter read to them.

Bouncing a diploma-patterned 2020 beach ball around, the seniors asked if they could use it to play volleyball. “We can go to the back yard and use your clothes line as a net,” they said. The gathering went to the back yard, and seniors played volleyball until it got close to dark.

About 8:15 p.m., the seniors waved goodbye and honked the horns on their vehicles. Damian Marlow, who had organized the event, called out, “Let us know anything you need.”

Dr. Carter shouted, “Come back.”

“Just let me know, when,” he replied.

Dr. Carter joined the Columbia High School team of educators in 2018.  When the Class of 2020 dedicated this year’s yearbook to her, they wrote on the dedication page: “We know Dr. Carter loves us. Dr. Carter makes reading fun! Dr. Carter gives us fun assignments that go with the books we read.”