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Article: LORAIN HIGH ALUM RETURNS WITH A SURPRISE FOR A DESERVING TEACHER

LORAIN HIGH ALUM RETURNS WITH A SURPRISE FOR A DESERVING TEACHER

MAY 4, 2022 | When West Virginia University told Seth Wilson from Lorain High School’s Class of 2021 that the college freshman could honor one teacher in his life through a partnership with the “Extra Yard for Teachers” Initiative, Wilson said he could only think of one person: Mary Jo Ferguson.
 
Ferguson was Wilson’s English teacher at Lorain High. But Lorain County’s own Mr. Basketball said he feels her impact in his life beyond just the classroom. Even now, Ferguson sees Wilson as one of her many “adopted children.”
 
“My junior year, she made sure all my papers were perfect, and now when I get to school, all my papers are pretty much perfect,” Wilson said after surprising Ferguson in her classroom Wednesday morning. “I attribute that to Ms. Ferg. She is just an awesome person. She always had food for us in class. She was just a great teacher. There is no one else I would have chosen.”
 
In collaboration with the Big 12 Conference, West Virginia University’s participation in the “Extra Yard for Teachers” initiative allowed ten current WVU student-athletes to award a K-12 educator of their choice for their hard work and dedication to help impact the lives of students. Each selected teacher, including Ferguson, received a $500 e-gift card to use as they saw fit.
 
At a commanding 6-foot 3, Wilson towered over Ferguson Wednesday when he walked into her classroom during a free period. She was there with other staff members under the guise of a surprise Zoom meeting.
 
And although she said she does not like surprises, she was all smiles when one of her favorite students entered the room.  
 
“I am definitely surprised,” said Ferguson, who has been with the district for 32 years. “But Seth knows I love him.”
 
 When asked why she loves teaching so much, Ferguson said for her, it’s about helping kids.
 
“I’m here to help them discover the love of learning,” she said.
 
Fellow teacher Stacy Vore called Ferguson “very student-centered.”
 
“One is the best ways to describe her is that she is a collector,” said Vore. “When Seth’s dad died after a long illness, it didn’t matter that Seth was at West Virginia because as soon as Mary Jo learns that kind of back story, she will go above and beyond for that kid. She collects every child that needs someone.”
 
“But I also don’t want them to know it’s me,” Ferguson added.
 
Amanda Haney, Director of Early College at Lorain High School, said Ferguson has been an excellent addition to the Early College program.
 
“She works really hard to find ways to engage students,” she said. “She goes above and beyond to help others. She has a huge heart, and we love having her on our team.”

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