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Corbin honor popular teacher who is battling cancer

Jeannie Helton entertains students with the "Sue Song" during a special celebration for her at Corbin Elementary School last week.

Education at Corbin Elementary is not about just about reading, writing and arithmetic. Over the last five years, Jeanie Helton has schooled students at Corbin Elementary in character.

As part of that, Helton emphasizes the power of one person to make the world a better place, constantly referring to a quote by 19th century author Edward Everett Hale that was made famous by Helen Keller.

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can."

Helton is a walking, talking character lesson as she is in the middle of a fifth bout with breast cancer. To help lift her spirits, Helton, who is taking a leave of absence while undergoing radiation treatments, came back to school last Thursday for a rally to boost her spirits and show her the impact she has had on the faculty, staff and students.

"When you look out over a gym of 450 students, there is nothing like that in the whole world," Helton said.

"You learn in character that you never plant corn and get beans," she said. "If you plant corn, you are going to get corn. If you plant good things, good things are going to grow in your garden. We believe at CES that there are a lot of good things that are coming full circle. And to see the kids be able to take what we have learned in Character class and give that back to me is phenomenal."

Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney was in attendance to present a proclamation declaring Nov. 29 to be "Sue Day" in the City of Corbin. Sue is a character who wears outlandish combinations of clothing that includes polka dots, checks and stripes. Students learn the song to teach them that it doesn't matter how different someone is on the outside, it is what is inside that makes the person unique. Who we truly are is not whether we have on polka dots, checks or stripes, but what shines within.

"This is your day to shine," one of the students told Helton during the event.

Each class gave Helton a gift that best represented her. The gifts included:

• A tumbler because Helton teaches the students to always see the world halffull

• An apple because Helton is such a great teacher

• A can of "Popeye" spinach because Helton is so strong

• Calgon bath products because Helton takes her students away to neat places

• A mirror because Helton is a reflection of what her students would like to be

• Batteries because when the students get low, Helton is there to charge them up

• A sack of bubble gum because it reminds the students of Helton. Some of it has bright colors that reminds the students of Helton's crazy friend, "Sue."

• A heart because the students hold Helton close to their hearts and hope she holds them in the same way

• A star because Helton is a shinning star for the students to follow. Helton was also presented with a pink breast cancer blanket with pink "helping" hands to remind her of everything she does for the students to shape their lives.

Helton said her prognosis for recovery is good. She has a total of 32 radiation treatments which will last through the new year. "I'm on the mend," Helton said. "I would like to come back to school tomorrow. We will see how it goes."


Stella (December 10, 2012) Reply

Jeanie Helton is an inspiration not only to the kids but also to the staff and the children's parents! God bless her and I pray he touch her with his holy healing hand!

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