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The first mistake I've made


September 19, 2012
"I must have started this line 30 times, and I just can't find words adequate enough to express the loss that our community has just suffered."

I wrote those words the night I found out that my sixth-grade math teacher, Gary Haub, passed away, and not much has changed; it is still hard for me to find the right words.

It's not often in life that you run across an individual who is so wholly good that a world without them in it seems improbable, impossible even.

It's even more rare to find an entire community who feels the same way.

It seems impossible to me that one of the best men I've ever had the privilege of knowing has passed away, and that's because Mr. Haub wasn't just a teacher or a coach to most of us.

Mr. Haub taught in the Corydon school system for 40 years and to say that he was special would be putting it lightly. He kept us going right when it would have been so easy to just let us go down the wrong path. Mr. Haub was a saving grace for so many of his students and athletes.

He built us up, but, at the same time, he kept us humble.

It is important for educators to remember that they have the distinct power and privilege to shape whole generations of children.

This man got that.

Mr. Haub understood that how a child felt about himself or herself, and who he or she would become, wasn't just in the hands of their parents.

To all the educators out there, that is a HUGE responsibility to shoulder along with your other duties, and I know it is asking a lot.

But my hope is that one day, when I have them, my children will have the joy of finding a teacher who believes in them the way that Mr. Haub believed in all of us. And, if they must, that they have the distinct honor of grieving for a good man or woman who touched their life in a way that, as a parent, I could not.

It's hard to believe that we'll never hear, "Well, that may be the first mistake I've ever made!" in his joking voice again because it was a phrase that was special and unique to the man. It was his way of saying that even adults make mistakes sometimes and no one is perfect.

For myself, I personally remember a lot of "Ms. Radcliff, you look confused!" as I was going through his math class in the sixth grade. Mr. Haub and his inventive sidekicks, Math Man and Caz, are the reason I passed sixth-grade math and actually understood my junior high courses.

And I know I'm not the only one.

His never-ending support on and off the basketball court and in and out of the classroom helped to contribute to the success that myself and my peers have experienced throughout the years.

He predicted we would be great and, in part, because of his faith, we have been. Some of us have excelled in athletics, some in academics, others as parents, still more as a new generation of coaches and teachers.

We have each in our own way become what he told us we would be, great.

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Barbara Shaw
Schuler Bauer
Thursday
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