Moving America Forward

Meet the Teacher Who’s Still Inspiring Students, Despite Retiring More Than Three Decades Ago

April 16, 2014
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Meet the Teacher Who’s Still Inspiring Students, Despite Retiring More Than Three Decades Ago
Robert Benson/Getty Images
She's 97-year-old Azella Taylor — a real-life Forrest Gump.

At almost 100 years old, retired teacher Azella Taylor still has words of wisdom to share.

“Teachers are blamed for all kinds of things. They don’t realize it’s one of the hardest jobs there is,” she tells the News Tribune in the video below. “If you’re a real teacher you devote your life to it and it’s physically hard, it’s mentally hard, it’s emotionally hard. But…it’s very gratifying.”

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After several decades of teaching in schools around Olympia, Washington, Miss Taylor has touched countless lives. And as Good News Network reports, many of her former students still stay in close contact with the remarkable woman, who has stories about Ernest Hemmingway (“He was full of himself and foul-mouthed), Chiang Kai-shek (her grandparents were friends with the Chinese Chairman) and Ansel Adams (“a charming, delightful man, down to earth”).

“She was our Forrest Gump,” former student Paige Porter told the newspaper. “If there was something important that happened, it seemed she’d been part of it.”

And even though Taylor has retired from her profession 35 years ago, she has never stopped teaching. “Some teachers make a difference in the lives of children,” another former student Sandy Flatness said. “She made a difference in the lives of adults.”

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