Anchor Pays Favorite Childhood Teacher Surprise Visit, Then Finds Books With Her Handwriting

For most of us, our childhoods were abit of a blur. But there are a few moments and people who stand out. For many of us, there’s at least one teacher who made a difference in our lives, and whom we remember well. I certainly remember mine!

Anchor Lisa Wilkinson of TODAY also remembers hers: her teacher,Ms. West. Although it’d been years, perhaps decades since they’d last seenone another, Lisa decided to pay the teacher a visit.

The two women were happily reunited, and Lisa was glad to see that some things had not changed: Ms.West, unmarried and childless, has always considered her students to be her children, and kept their exercise books, including a few of Lisa’s.

That was a few months ago. Unfortunately, since then, Ms.West passed away after a brave battle with cancer. Lisa posted on Facebook about how glad she was to be able to reconnect with Ms.West and thank her for changing her life, despite her sudden departure.


Lisa Wilkinson wrote:

We all have a school teacher we’ll never forget – one whose dedication to their students and the wider school community goes well beyond anything ever written in the job description.


For me, that was Miss West, my teacher in 4th & 5th class at Campbelltown Primary School. She was all about the three R’s…and so much more beyond, from getting us to learn all the classic Australian poems (I can still recite them all now), good handwriting, choir, impeccable manners.


Miss West never married because as she told me years later, “How would I find the time? My students keep me so busy.” Late last year I went to visit her at home, at 81, still living a few blocks from the school she taught at for more than four decades (even teaching three generations in some families), and still in possession of some of my old exercise books, which, she reminded me she had kept.


But that day she gave those exercise books back to me, and for some reason we both got quite emotional.


Well I’m so glad I made that trip, because Miss West died on Friday after a short but courageous battle with cancer.


I will treasure these pics you see above. That’s me as one of her happy, smiling charges in 4th class (bottom left), the proud woman I remember (top left), and our recent reunion on the right.

Vale Miss West. And thank you. You shaped countless lives – well beyond our school years – and you will be missed.

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