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Her lesson: Pennies can measure your success

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POSTED September 30, 2013 10:29 p.m.

Ripon High’s new AP English Teacher learned early in life that you must never give up, even if it’s forging ahead just one penny at a time toward your goals.

Mary Eyer comes to Ripon from a background most of us have never faced. From a family of 17 children with two loving, but uneducated parents, she knew that she must work hard to succeed in life. Being the only one to graduate high school in her large family, she learned early that education is an opportunity that should not be wasted.

She had a love for education early in her life and it was a librarian who really discovered her appreciation and zest for learning. Her interest and passion for reading was so great that she resorted to taking a book from her school library, and being caught in the act. Most people would have scolded her and wrote her off as just another troublemaker, but that librarian saw something special in a girl who had never owned a book of her own, but who loved to read.

She was taken to the office, and instead of being punished she was put to work by the librarian for just a penny a day. At the end of the school year she had learned the value of money – a lesson that will stay with Ms. Mary Eyer for the rest of her life.  She bought her first book with the total of her 9-month earnings in pennies with the librarian at her side.

Her actual passion to become a teacher did not come until later when she was faced with two ruthless and abusive teachers. They would sneer and belittle their students, she remembers.  Instead of being intimidated, the negative treatment gave her the motivation to become an educator and ultimately wanting to give children a teacher they could respect and look up to for her caring and professional attitude.

Ms. Mary Eyer has taught in many places throughout her career and credits her time teaching girls in Saudi Arabia as her greatest experience in a classroom.  Another valued achievement was the positive results she witnessed in the life and the growth of one senior. The student had slipped through the cracks of the education system and was a student in high school who hadn’t learned to read. Instead of ignoring his status, she took him under her wing as a special one-on-one project.  After a year he was able to read his first book, just a children’s book, but still a book.

When Ms. Mary Eyer was making her decision to relocate to a new home, she quickly noticed something special in Ripon as she researched the Internet – telling her students they are lucky to live in such a friendly and safe community.  

It’s obvious, too, that her students see something very special in their new English teacher at Ripon High.

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