Author: Jenna Jeffrey
Published: Wednesday, 19 May 2021
Junior Achievement and MEMIC recognize educators as role models and mentors who help empower, motivate, and prepare students to envision their future and ignite a passion for continuous learning. The "Extraordinary Educators" campaign will take a closer look at Maine educators, their stories, their commitment to serving Maine’s youth, and the impact they have on their students.
Take a look at our Q&A with Sue Lamoreau of Sanford Regional Technical Center!
What made you want to become a teacher?
From almost the first day of kindergarten, I made the decision that I would become a teacher. I have always enjoyed helping people. When I was younger, instead of playing house like most kids do, I always liked to play school and take on the role of the teacher. Throughout the years, I had some amazing educators in my life who inspired me and truly made a difference. I continue to strive to emulate the basic skills that they instilled within me: enthusiasm, compassion, patience, and understanding. It’s not just the content that makes a person successful, it’s these basic skills. From there, it makes the transition easier as they venture out to achieve their future goals.
Do you have a favorite memory as a teacher?
There are so many, it’s hard to pick just one. It’s what keeps me going after being in the profession for 34 years. But if I had to choose just one, it would be when one of my students was given a four-year scholarship for business. She came from a difficult home life, which could have prevented her from going onto school. She persevered through those challenges and worked very hard in high school and took on many leadership roles under a lot of duress. I nominated her for that scholarship and she went on and completed her undergraduate studies at that school. I was invited and attended her college graduation celebration. I was invited and attended her wedding. Twenty years later I caught up with her when I was out of state at a conference. She asked me if we could meet for dinner. The first thing she said when we sat down for dinner was, “This dinner is on me.” I said oh, no of course not. She then said, “No, you don’t understand, if it was not for you, I would not be where I am today. You made a difference in my life.” I didn’t handle it well. I burst into tears. Honestly, I felt embarrassed at the way I responded at that moment, but that was exactly why I went into teaching. I wanted to make a difference and she confirmed that I had. I will never forget that visit and affirmation of what I do and why I do it.
Why do you choose to bring JA to your students?
My students have been participating in the Titan Challenge for over 15 years. At Sanford Regional Technical Center, they are enrolled in a two-year dual enrollment business program affiliated with Thomas College. During that time, they focus on Finance, Marketing, Management and Entrepreneurship. The Titan Challenge is a perfect as it is relevant and coincides with our curriculum. The students love the competitive environment it provides amongst one another as they prep for the challenge and are inspired as they are able to continue with that momentum when the annual challenge takes place.
Do you have a favorite JA moment in your classroom?
When practicing for the Titan Challenge in the classroom, we have been afforded the opportunity to have JA mentors visit our program throughout the years to work with the students. Even through Covid and remote learning, we have been able to continue this great partnership with a mentor through ZOOM. My favorite moment is when students gain confidence in their abilities as they see themselves progress throughout the challenge. It’s the growth of their understanding of concepts and being able to troubleshoot and put a plan into action. The enthusiasm and pride they display says it all.
What do you hope your students take away from their time with you?
My hope is that I can provide students with tools that will help them later in life. Sometimes it’s hard for students to see the value of their education while in school. It’s not until that “ah-ha” moment when they make that connection in their own life. What I love is when I hear back from my students thanking me for those skills and thanking me for pushing them. I always let them know that their take away may not be today or tomorrow. It may be a few years down the road and they are prepared when the time comes.
Thank you Sue for all you do for Maine students!
Follow the Extraordinary Educators campaign on JA's social media platforms as we highlight Maine educators, their stories, their commitment to serving Maine’s youth, and the impact they have on their students.