"I grew up in extreme poverty and teachers seemed like angels to me. They were so kind and clean. I came to Weber State as a nontraditional student who was not as academically prepared as other students, but my professors pushed me. They never let me give up.

"That's why I bring inspirational speakers like Elizabeth Eckford to my classroom. As a teen in 1957, Elizabeth volunteered to help desegregate an all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas.

"Other students called her names, dumped food on her, threw books at her and shoved her down the stairs. She kept going back day after day because she wanted a good education.

"That's one of the stories I teach my students. We all have struggles, but I know from experience that education is the key to a better life."