Make a Difference Today

I have a family who loves me and supports me fully. Every morning my mother calls me. When it comes time to hang up the phone she always ends our conversation the same way; she tells me that she loves me and always says, “and remember, make a difference today.”

I became a teacher to make a difference.

Mr. Austin receives certificate from his teacher

Although, I did not always want to be a teacher. It wasn’t until my senior year that I even began considering this call on my life. During my senior year, teachers put together personalized awards for their students. During our awards ceremony I clearly remember my history teacher, Mr. Herring, reading off his certificate, “Most likely to become a history teacher…Ben Austin.” Could I really be a teacher one day? Could I make a difference in other people’s lives just as Mr. Herring made a difference in my own life? At that moment I knew what I wanted to be. I wanted to be exactly what Mr. Herring was to me. I wanted to be a mentor for students and a light to everyone that walked through my classroom door. I wanted to be someone who with every word encourages those around him. I wanted to be a smiling face and support for people even on their hardest days. I wanted to have the same passion for what I did as he had for teaching and for history. I wanted to care for others as he cared for me. I wanted to become a teacher.

Now I write to you, nine years later. I am still striving to become the teacher Mr. Herring was to me. I wake up every morning excited about my job and the day ahead. I am excited because I get to live, laugh, and learn with my “family” every single day. The Lord has blessed me with teachers and students who I love and care for dearly; the Petal School District is my family.

I get to spend each day pouring into the lives of young minds, teaching history, and doing something I love. I wake up knowing that I can make a difference. Teaching is more than my job – it’s my passion.

Ben Austin


Ben Austin
9th – 10th grade Social Studies
Petal High School
Petal School District

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