Back-to-school staff meeting turns into unexpected reunion

MADISON, Wis (WMTV) -- A back to school staff meeting at Core Knowledge Charter School in Verona turns into an unexpected reunion.

"One that has stood out and has influenced my teaching philosophy in general was my 6th grade teacher," Hannah Madson, Core Knowledge Charter School teacher said.

Building relationships by getting to know her students is what Hannah’s grammar school teacher has inspired her to do.

"I remember thinking I want to be like her. I want to be like that kind of a teacher," Madson said.

So she decided to share a story about the teacher that inspired her at a back-to-school staff meeting in the community circle.

"There was this person sitting across from me and she kind of looked familiar. She and I got up and walked toward each other and she said ‘are you one of my students?’” she said.

That’s when she realized nearly two decades later, her sixth grade teacher from Kenosha was now a substitute teacher at the same school.

"It was an incredible feeling. It was so great to see everything come full circle and see the teacher who had a big impact on my life sitting across from me," she said.

It’s an unexpected reunion and a feeling Margaret Carpenter, Core Knowledge Charter School long-term substitute teacher, said was indescribable.

"She said ‘I was talking about you’ and I grabbed her and started crying because you hope to go into the teaching arena to make a difference," Carpenter said.

Hannah said Margaret made that difference by planting a seed, encouraging students to learn and grow while watching them bloom into something she’s proud of.

"It hit me like ‘Oh my God she was talking about me’ and I'm humbled by it and honored that she said that," she said.

Hannah said she strives to make her students feel the way she felt in sixth grade – welcome, important and inspired. She said she hopes she can make the same impact for another child somewhere down the road.

The now-colleagues are planning to get coffee this weekend and catch up. Moving forward they hope to share ideas to continue the chain-reaction of making an impact on the lives of students.