Michelle Durange's Learning Story


One might wonder how a hair dresser for 20 years becomes a teacher after all of those years. 29 years ago I was entering high school as a freshman. Things were pretty bleak; my family did not have a lot of money. We received every free service that was offered. I have two brothers and one sister all high school drop outs. The odd of myself graduating did not look good. You might think to yourself ‘parents’ where they are. Well both my parents are high school drop outs. They were busy working trying to pay the bills. I have often joked that by the time I came around they were just tired of fighting all of us to go to school. During my freshman year I missed around 100 days of school. I actually passed two classed, gym and typewriting. The truant officer had been to my house several times. They knew that if they fined my parents they couldn’t pay so the school decided that the best thing for me was to place me in Vo-Tech. My sophomore year I entered the cosmetology program. This year was a little better but I continued to miss days of school. I remember that year having a sub. I immediately liked her and remember telling her that if she was my teacher I would come to school. My Junior year, I walked in to the class and there was the sub from the year before. Mrs. Kelbaugh was hired permanently. She pulled me aside the first day. ‘Do you remember telling me that if I was your teacher you would come to school?’ Of course I remember that but I really didn’t mean it’ she went on to tell me the school had a big meeting and my name came up. They wanted to pull me from the program because of all my absences. Mrs. Kelbaugh told them no. She wanted a chance to work with me, and to help me. She told me I fought for you to stay in this program. Here are the new rules. If you are sick the ambulance better pull around front and I will make sure you are inside. If you decide to die then I want three days notice. Do you understand? Yes, was my answer but I didn’t really know if I could do it. I did do it and Mrs. Kelbaugh made sure I did it. I did not miss one day, she really cared about me. She worked with me and I worked for her. My senior year, I told Mrs. Kelbaugh I am going to work real hard this year and I am going to get all ‘A’s’ I did work hard and I did get all A’s. I look back and I know that this was the one person who truly cared about me, she cared if I went to school, she cared if I did well, she cared about what went on in my life’.she is a teacher. My life has been changed because of her, all because of a teacher. She is no different than we are but she did make a difference in my life. I am where I am today because of her and I have thought about her often.