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Blessed are the teachers who deal with our middle school awkwardness

• Alexis Flowers


In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week we asked a few staff members to contribute to our #OnTheFly blog series about a specific teacher who inspired them and made a difference in their lives. Continuing our series is Alexis Franz, a policy analyst for the Foundation.

Middle school was a tough time for me (says pretty much everyone!). Children can be mean and insensitive, and I was definitely going through my “awkward phase” at the time. (Not sure if I ever grew out of that, but I digress…)

In 7th grade, I signed up for chorus. I enjoyed singing, could carry a tune decently, and had enjoyed it in elementary school when it was part of our required curriculum.

Mrs. Bettie-Ann Candelora was my choir teacher from the first day in 7th grade, and actually every year after that through graduation.  She was creative, enthusiastic, and full of contagious energy. She listened to our seemingly-insurmountable-childhood problems with honest interest, and was always available for advice and support. She challenged us in sight reading and music theory, and encouraged us to step out of our comfort zones and perform publicly.

The chorus room was my safe-haven-happy place for six years, and I am so grateful for Mrs. Candelora for her friendship and guidance. I am grateful to have had many amazing teachers over my K-12 career, but she will always stick out in my mind as one that went above and beyond the call of duty.

Thank you, Mrs. Candelora!

About the author

Alexis Flowers

Alexis is a Policy Analyst for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. She joined the Foundation staff full time after working as a legislative intern during the 2011 Florida session. A recent graduate of Florida State University, she studied Risk Management/Insurance and Economics and graduated cum laude in the fall of 2010. She’s a second generation Floridian, and will begin pursuing her Masters in Applied Economics at Georgia Southern University this fall.