Each week, City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley will thank a person or organization for inspiring us in our service. This week, corps member Alex Mihalek thanks Mrs. Mary DeFayette for inspiring her to serve with City Year.
Sometimes, things just click. That’s the way it was with school and me. I had always liked walking through the large brick archway of Bailey Avenue Elementary School. However, as a very restless six-year-old, I would much rather have been playing outside than sitting and reciting my ABCs in a cramped classroom. Then, I was lucky enough to be placed in Mrs. Mary DeFayette’s class and everything clicked.
Mrs. DeFayette is a remarkable educator by every definition of the word. She played a key role in one of the most pivotal years of our education, teaching her students fundamental skills and to love learning. She also dealt with our constant screaming and glue eating, but always had a smile on her face.
As I look back on my time in Mrs. DeFayette’s classroom, over a decade and a half ago now, I am most impressed by her unwavering commitment to her students. Mrs. DeFayette always went above and beyond what was asked of her as a teacher. I distinctly remember one week where I came up with a story that I really wanted to write down.
However, I was still working on correctly shaping letters, so all of the intricacies of recording my thoughts on paper made this a seemingly impossible task. I mentioned this to Mrs. DeFayette one day, and she told me to meet her at recess in the classroom. Mrs. DeFayette stayed in with me during her lunch break for the entire week to type up the story as I told it to her in parts. At the end of the week, I had a printed copy of my first creative writing piece, and I felt like I was on top of the world.
Mrs. DeFayette truly taught me to love learning, and I believe that much of my academic success is a result of her early influence. She also taught me to always give more of myself than is required. At the beginning of my time with City Year, we were asked to dedicate our year of service to someone, and I chose Mrs. DeFayette. Her passion for others and generosity are truly remarkable and I hope one day to embody these traits. Thank you!
Alex Mihalek, Corps Member CYSJ