Dear Professor Simon,
I came into your Foundations course with zero prior journalistic experience. I was a shy, angsty girl who thought she liked writing.
You opened your class so quick to tell of how much you “loved, cared and sought to be intentional with us.” You played “Getting to know you” and danced around the room as you sang.
I left that day feeling so indifferent about you. I didn’t know what to think. Were you just strange, or was the man who joyously danced around the classroom always you?
Growing up in public school, I came into university feeling like I would have to prove myself for teachers to care an ounce about me. I had to be the teacher’s pet or be way too smart to ignore.
You proved me wrong.
You built me up. On an assignment where I felt my worst, you stopped to speak to me. Did you know that you giving me critiques on my assignment made my entire day? You were never surface level, so quick to notice the smallest bits of who I am.
After a month in your class, I wanted to love others the way you loved. I wanted just a half of it. I wanted to speak to you, ask you all you knew and how you could love others with the power that you did.
I’ve made peace with myself for not having enough conversations with you. Five minutes after class with you was enough to fill my heart as five hours.
I left your class with hope God could mold my angst into something beautiful. I left your class with inspiration on what writing could do, especially when we have God’s presence with us. You taught me to love the gift of storytelling. You taught me to love each gift he gives with the best of myself:
“Michelle, the good LORD will nurture your spirit and mind in many wonderful ways in future years. In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he exhorts the young man by saying, ‘God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.’ In Ephesians, we are also reminded to speak the ‘truth in love’ and that is my prayer for you. I pray that you grow in kindness, courage, peace and wisdom so you can share His love with others who need His gentle touch and healing hand.”
What a gift to have known and been known by you, Professor Simon.
– Michelle Gurrola, Biola journalism student, 2022