An inspiration for teaching

Published 11:21 am Monday, August 25, 2014

Gabrielle Taylor, recent UA grad and PHS alum, inspires. (Contributed)

Gabrielle Taylor, recent UA grad and PHS alum, inspires. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“Do you remember Gabrielle Taylor?” asked the woman approaching the summer reading table at registration.

“Absolutely,” I replied. “I remember Gabby well and I remember you. How is your daughter? What is Gabby up to?”

Taylor’s poetry holds a level of esteem bordering on legend at PHS. She penned “Facebook stalking” with a friend when she was in high school. This tongue-in-cheek commentary on the cyber habits of teens during her 2010 graduation year is a favorite that transcends time.

Taylor’s mom revealed that her daughter was a Fulbright Scholar and promised she would share the details of her award.

Gabrielle Taylor visited teachers at PHS to share. She leaves for Germany as August ends. A recent UA graduate, with a communications major and a German minor, Taylor is eager to immerse herself in German as she assumes her role as an English teacher in Germany to students between the ages of 10 and 18 for the next nine months.

Discussing the Fulbright application process, Taylor commented on the helpfulness of her University of Alabama professors.

“My team of mentors met with me, reviewed my application and made suggestions. They wanted me to be the strongest applicant possible. I felt cautiously confident once my application was completed. One professor would quote the opening lines of my essay whenever she saw me on campus.”

I asked to see those quotable lines. Taylor wrote, “Coming from a family of educators…I understand the importance of education, and …the responsibility that teachers have towards their students. Participating with my high school’s literary magazine staff, which designed the specific pages for the student-produced poetry, short stories, and artwork, was a great experience to use another artistic outlet. I believe an educator’s role is to create chances for students to broaden their knowledge in any area.”

Specializing in film, Taylor’s short documentary, “Black Noise,” about deaf, black Alabamians will debut at the Birmingham Sidewalk Festival shortly before she departs for Germany. Each year, I read something inspiring to begin the school year. This year, Gabby Taylor is my inspiration.