Teacher Wins Award After Dying Of Cancer
Meghan White was a beloved fourth-grade teacher at Allen Jay Elementary School, home of the Jaybirds. She’d wanted to be a teacher from a young age, and according to her colleagues, she was always concerned about the equity of her students. She “went above and beyond” to build relationships with students and parents so that she could give each of her students the best possible fourth-grade experience.
Mrs. White was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer at the age of 32. She continued teaching and passed away two years later in September of 2018.
Only days after she passed, she was one of five teachers to receive a Real Teacher of the Year Award from Rack Room Shoes. Mrs. White received the highest number of votes, and Allen Jay Elementary School received $10,000 from Rack Room Shoes to improve the school’s technology. The money will go toward upgrading the school’s computer lab. The upgraded lab will be renamed after Mrs. White and will display a plaque in her honor.
“Ms. White believed in treating all students equally so her legacy will live on in this classroom. The money will go toward upgrading the computer lab, a room all students will benefit from,” the school’s principal, Carla Florres-Ballesteros, said.
Mrs. White’s mother, Cynde McLaughlin, said that her daughter absolutely loved her students, and the award would have meant so much to her. “She was just all about the fun and the joy and celebration. She loved these kids. She loved them so much,” she said.
After being diagnosed with cancer, Meghan White told her family, “I do not claim it. It does not define me. I will not let it take the joy from my life.” Those attending her memorial service were encouraged to dress in ways that represented their relationship with Mrs. White, remembering that, “her favorite color was hot pink and her favorite accessory was glitter.”
Instead of flowers, Mrs. White asked that those wishing to honor her life find a child in need and try to lighten their burden. Mrs. White’s legacy continuing helping and inspiring children at Allen Jay Elementary for years to come. She is survived by her husband, Stephan, and her son, Cadence.