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Past Heroes – 2002

RARE Everyday Hero Stories


2002 - Ray Lawson
Everyday Hero
Ray Lawson
Teacher, Rochester High School

About this Everyday Hero

Ray is a teacher at Rochester High School. Yet, when Ray left the Army in 1945, he wasn’t sure he wanted to teach. In fact, when he interviewed for a job teaching English, he told the Superintendent that he would try it for a year or two. That was fifty-six years ago. He has spent nearly sixty years teaching, and fifty-six years in the Rochester School District alone. Ray is distinguished not only by his length of service, but even more by the positive influence he has had on so many students. He is a true icon in the Rochester community. The number of his former students who recognize his gift and love of teaching confirm his talents. Ray has a RARE attitude – he has never appeared in class without his suit and tie, and he thinks of every day as a new experience. In fact, at the end of each year, he throws away his lesson plans and starts fresh the new school year. He has often been asked, "How can you stand to be with kids everyday?" Well, Ray doesn’t look at them as kids; he looks at them as young adults, and treats them accordingly. In Ray’s classroom, the students write an evaluation and tell him what grade they think they deserve. Ray wants to know what the student has done to participate and make his class a better class. Ray’s philosophy is, "Whatever I do, I hope it is better because I was there, and that is what I expect from my students.