In 1984, I was a seventh-grader. Mike Murray taught science and was the cross-country coach. (Murray now is a science teacher at Skyview High School.) A requirement to be on the team was to run a 5k in less than 32 minutes. Despite my negative attitude, I found a way to make the team, with Murray's encouragement. Once on the team, if you participated in events and completed a 10k run, you received an athletic letter. As the season progressed, I tried a few times at the 10k but failed to complete it. In fact, I was the only one who had not.
Right before the end of the season my family received a call from Murray. He was picking me up on Saturday morning, and we were going to Portland and we were going to complete a 10k run, and I was going to earn my athletic letter. Murray ran directly behind me the entire run, giving me encouragement. Ultimately, I finished the race. It was the first great accomplishment of my life. I was overcome with pride.
I will forever accomplish things that I shouldn't be able to do because of that Saturday. Thank you, Mike Murray, and all of the other teachers who dedicate their lives to making others better.