Breakfast with Sarah

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

We met for breakfast again, this time at Pure & Simple Café.

We do this once or twice a year—sometimes more. We started out at Sunnyway Diner, but eventually ended up meeting at Pure & Simple (, where I tend to order quinoa and she tends to order buckwheat pancakes.

The first time I met Sarah was nine years ago, when she was a wide-eyed eighth-grader longing to grow in her faith and change the world. I was leading a seminar for the 4.12 Leadership Training Program (, and her teachable, engaging expression stood out among the crowd.

When I learned she needed a mentor for her participation in the program, I eagerly volunteered. Now nine years have passed, and I am always anxious to connect with her when she’s in town.

Back when I served as a formal mentor to her (which I frankly didn’t feel I did very well, but at least I tried!), she had dreams of moving to the inner-city to work as a teacher in the schools most educators seem to avoid. She was awarded the Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation Ambassador Award (, among her many honors. Then she headed off to Grove City College (, from which she recently graduated.

When she sat across from me yesterday morning, she looked older, more mature, and as stunning as always. Her blue eyes dazzled, and she emanated her typical joy and enthusiasm.

“I have applied to about 30 schools in New York City, so I’m waiting to hear back from those,” she informed me.

And these aren’t charter schools. “I want to work in a struggling school,” she told me earlier this summer when I saw her at a wedding.

Nine years after meeting her, this ambitious young lady is still ready to change the world, one student at a time!

She’s another reason I believe it’s worthwhile to invest in one student at a time as well. While I can’t take credit for Sarah’s accomplishments and dreams, I count it a privilege to have been one of her cheerleaders along the way.