October 24, 2007 Edition

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Educator put love,
magic in learning

John Bland
Publisher

Clara Belle (Hart) Kellow passed away Thursday night. I was one of hundreds of students who had her as a teacher during her 37~year career.

Mrs. Hart was always special to me, and I later realized she was special to many. She could be stern, but you always felt the love she had for you and her other students.

Halloween was a favorite season in her third~grade Walnut Ridge classroom. With twinkling eyes, she even referred to herself as a witch who could turn a misbehaving student into a flowerpot. We all knew this was in fun, and a little make~believe helped us tolerate the drudgery of math and reading. A bit of square dancing or painting with water colors also put a little fun in the school day.

Sometimes it is hard to fully appreciate an experience or person until much time has passed. Years later, I would learn that she placed me in the back of the classroom so that I would be forced to speak up to help overcome my shyness.

She told me in recent years about a spirited friend whose reputation had preceded him to her classroom. She knew what he needed and met him at his point of need. He went on to have a great year in her class.

Apparently, this was part of her method and wisdom in teaching ~ to reach each student in the unique way that he or she needed in order to learn and grow. This was her real magic, a God~given gift that she shared richly.

She also passed on that gift to her daughter, Linda Hart Osburn, and granddaughter, Brooke Osburn Bramlett, who both followed in her footsteps to become teachers.

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