Some of Ms. Allen’s former fourth grade students recently gathered for a 25-year reunion. Shown, left to right, are Daima Boger, Nerisha Taylor, Lawrence Usher, Sharon Allen Lord, Nina Madden and Koneshia Hill. (Special Photo)
COVINGTON — Sharon Lord owns and operates Smart Kids Tutoring in Newton County where she mentors students in kindergarten through seventh grade one-on-one, but her teaching career spans back decades when she taught at Rainbow Elementary in Decatur. Lord recalls the 1988-89 school year, her second year of teaching, as a memorable and inspirational one that left a lasting impression not only her, but also on her students. Twenty-five years after that remarkable school year, Lord, who was then known as Ms. Allen, hosted a reunion Saturday at her home in Newton County for her former fourth-graders.
Now in their 30s, six of Lord’s former students gathered to reunite and share where they are today, a quarter century after their fourth grade year. They have entered the fields of law, corporate administration, entrepreneurship and education.
One of her former students, Nerisha Taylor, now teaches at West Newton Elementary. Another past fourth-grader, Koneshia Hill, is earning her master’s degree in educational studies with a focus on educational psychology. Nina Madden is also in the educational field, teaching ultra-sound sonography classes to adults. Timika Woods Dennis went on to be a partner in the Lister & Holt law firm, and Lawrence Usher became the owner of Usher Mobile Barbering LLC. Daima Boger owns Daitime Consulting LLC and is a claims operations analyst at Chartis Aerospace Adjustment Services.
Lord attributes strong parental involvement and student participation to making the 1988-89 school year so momentous. She noted that many of the students’ parents were active members of the Parent-Teacher Association, and students were eager to learn as well.
“It was memorable to us because we had a leader that wasn’t just an educator, but made us feel at home. No matter our backgrounds or neighborhoods, (her) class was a place where we could come together and relate to one another. That was especially important to me since it was my first year from a whole different state,” said Hill. “There wasn’t bullying or violence; we all respected each other for being individuals. Twenty-five years later we still have that respect like Lawrence’s ability to still be titled the class clown.”
When recollecting her passion for going to Lord’s class each day, Boger stated, “This was the first time my parents saw that joy in my face. They didn’t have to get me up and ready for school; I was eager to go each day. When school was out I was sad and wished to be in class. That was the first class where we were asked what we wanted to be when we got older and encouraged to really think about it.”
“Ms. Allen (Lord) was the only teacher that was patient enough to help me get honor roll in school,” said Usher.
Lord has been living in Covington for the past 15 years and is the mother of Solange Lord, who will be graduating this year from Eastside High School. Lord said that her goal, both 25 years ago and today, is to make learning engaging, effective and delivered in a compassionate way.
She said that she knew she wanted to be a teacher as young as 5 years of age. Lord’s childhood goal was to be a teacher by day and a ballerina by night, but later found out that solely teaching was enough to fulfill her schedule, and her dreams, she said.
While Lord has been an influential teacher to many, she said that she had her own inspirational teachers to pave the way before her. When she attended Brooklyn’s P.S. 306 in New York, she said her second- and fourth-grade teachers helped reinforce her desire to be a teacher. With her childhood teachers kindling in her a desire to mentor, Lord went on to inspire and motivate her own students, she said.