My husband and I were invited to a luncheon today at the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM). It was called “Celebration of Education” and was sponsored by the Willow Run/Ypsilanti, Michigan Dollars for Scholars (DFS) organization.

My role began with DFS during the 2001-2002 school year and went four consecutive years. During that first school year, I taught idea mapping and other tools to 55 Willow Run High School students and 10 of their teachers. The students were incredible and I can still picture many of them — Alana, Erica, Precious, Christian, and many more. I haven’t seen any of them since they graduated…until today.

Among the presitigious series of speakers at today’s luncheon (which easily hosted over 200 guests) was a Willow Run alumni named Mishae Johnson. She had been part of that original group of 55 students, had since earned her bachelor’s degree from UDM, and was squeezing us into her busy schedule on her lunch break from work. She was an amazing speaker, sincere, connected with the audienc, articulate, and never used a single note.

Afterwards we had a chance to talk and catch up a bit. She shared that she used idea mapping tool all the way through college. She specifically shared how it had helped her in a math class.

It’s not often that instructors get to see the fruit of their work once the student or participant leaves the workshop. Today I was given a gift to know that somehow this tool made a difference for one college student. Thank you Mishea Johnson.