After moving from Sri Lanka to Canada in 1997, Nashat Cassim was enrolled in kindergarten at a nearby public school.
Being so young in a completely new culture, Nashat felt “intimidated and scared.” That’s why it meant the world to him when two teachers showed up at his house to meet him before classes started!
The sweet educators brought him some supplies he would need to thrive and did everything they could to make him feel welcome! Their presence made a huge difference in his life, but when his family moved to a new neighborhood a year and a half later, he started at a different school and lost touch with them. That is, he did until they had a chance reunion 23 years later!
At his mom’s request, Nashat recently posted an ad for a flower planter on Facebook Marketplace. It didn’t take long before a woman who lived in his old neighborhood reached out to let him know she was interested. Her name, Karen Ayotte, sounded familiar, so he clicked on her profile.
“My teacher’s name was Ms. Ayotte, and I look at the school she worked at and now the gears are turning in my head,” Nashat explained. He ended up sending her an old photo and asked if she was one of the two teachers in it. Sure enough, she was! Delighted, the two of them planned to meet up.
“I remember him so well,” Karen said later. “He was a quiet child, quite liked by his classmates, eager to learn, a little bit shy.” Nashat obviously kept her in mind too! He explained, “As I grew older, I always remembered those teachers and thought of them fondly.”
When they reunited, Nashat passed off the planter (free of charge!) along with a gift card and a long thank-you note explaining the impact Karen had on his life.
“I don’t know if I’d be where I am today without them giving me that foundation,” he added.
Teachers like these are absolutely priceless! Thank you, Karen, for looking out for Nashat all those years ago. He will never forget your kindness!
Share this story with an educator you know to remind them how important they are.
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