Teachers hold a special place in our hearts, leaving lasting impressions on their students and shaping them at a young age, influencing them for the rest of their lives.

I often reminisce about my high school English teacher, Mrs. Cathy Cassady. I was fortunate to have her for two years at Scotia-Glenville High School in the small town of Scotia, Upstate New York.

Walking into Mrs. Cassady's classroom, my passion for reading and writing was evident. Recognizing my enthusiasm, she challenged me like never before, pushing me to fulfill my potential. Her belief in me has stayed with me to this day.

Years after graduating, Mrs. Cassady reached out to me, sending a package of my writings from her classes that she had kept all those years. Along with the writings was a heartfelt note expressing her pride in the person I had become and her joy in seeing my continued dedication to writing.

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Mrs. Cassady continues to impact my life, even in adulthood. Every time I think of her, my heart fills with gratitude and love.

I share stories of Mrs. Cassady whenever I can, as she truly is an incredible human being. Reflecting on her influence, I realized that if a teacher holds such significance in my life after 26 years, others must have similar experiences too.

I reached out to hundreds of people in the Southern Tier so they could share which teacher had the greatest impact on their lives. Perhaps you are one of them - discover their stories and the lasting impact of extraordinary educators.

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We asked "What Southern Tier area teacher had a huge impact on you? Where and what did they teach?" These are the teachers that you say changed your life. 

Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

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