STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

Teacher Appreciation: Thank you, Miss Catherine

Joined: 7/12/2012
Posts: 9
The year was 1957.Sixty-one desks on wooden runners were occupied by at least as many third graders. Instead of the usual intimidating nun standing in the front of the room, the class focused their gaze on a petite young woman with dark-cropped hair and friendly blue eyes known as Miss Catherine.

From the start, I knew third grade would be memorable. Miss Catherine had the ability to generate excitement and infuse her lessons with novelty and fun. To be sure, I learned to write in cursive, master the multiplication tables, and memorize a myriad of poems. But Miss Catherine was a woman ahead of her time. She recognized the power that she held in her hands and used it to tap into her students’ potential.

The classroom was Catherine’s stage, and when the curtains opened each day, the lessons I learned in her room, shaped not only my mind, but ultimately my life. How well I remember bringing a napkin and silverware to school so we could practice our table manners. How well I remember hanging onto her words during religious instruction each afternoon. The moral code embedded in those lessons soon embedded itself in my heart. Mostly, however, I remember The Bookcase…the three-shelf bookcase that appeared in the back of the room mid-way through the school year. Miss Catherine announced that we would have a classroom library and I could hardly contain my excitement! There was no library close to our home and the Nancy Drew books I adored were $1.00 each at Woolworths. To my delight, an unending supply of Nancy Drew books, lived side-by-side with classics like Winnie the Pooh and The Wind in the Willows. Access to a variety of books enabled me to explore and delight in new worlds. Before the term “whole language” ever entered educational vernacular, Miss Catherine knew that exposing children to rich literature and allowing them choice, were the magic bullets to creating lifelong readers. At the end of third grade, I bid Miss Catherine farewell. When school opened the following year, she was no longer on the faculty.

My love of reading provided the impetus for me to become a teacher. In 1992, I was teaching third grade at a small parochial school. In August, I met our new principal. Mrs. McGough shook my hand and led me into her office. Naturally, she asked me to tell her about myself. When I mentioned that I had attended St. Athanasius grade school,her blue eyes twinkled. “Who was your third grade teacher?” she inquired. She chuckled when I responded, “I had Miss Catherine.” “I am Miss Catherine” she replied, “and you must be Rita Rookstool”.

Life offers many gifts. For five years, my former third grade teacher, Miss Catherine, was my principal and friend, continuing to affirm, challenge and teach me. Thanks to Miss Catherine, my own classroom was never without a “library” and the culmination of my teaching career was when I became a Reading Specialist.
Rate this:
Comment by warren

Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
Congratulations on having the luck of the draw--from teacher to principal to friend!
Posted: Sunday, May 31, 2015 5:46:12 PM
Rate this:
Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Teacher Appreciation essay being chosen as our winning adult essay for our May 2015 writing contest.

We will be contacting you about prize details via your registration email.

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:46:34 PM
Rate this:
Comment by readarose

Joined: 7/12/2012
Posts: 9
Thank you so much. I was delighted to be chosen a Stage of Life winner for the second time. As an educator, I believe the Stage of Life site has much to offer a vast variety of people. I'm proud to be a contributor and encourage others to share their stories.
Posted: Friday, June 19, 2015 12:15:58 AM
Rate this:

Grandparents blog on StageofLife.comAbout Us is a blogging community for grandparents to share stories about the adventure of grandparenting in an online life journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Read the blogs and stories about grandparenting, or check out the writing contest for grandparents, quotes about grandparents, etiquette for grandparents, videos about grandparenting, discounts for families, and other resources for grandparents on  Register to start your free profile, share an essay about your grandchildren (or grandparents), and pass along your wisdom to help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a college professor, teacher or educator - review our literacy, blogging and writing resources.

Stage of Life Writing Contests

writing contests

Enter National Writing ContestWriting Contests

From 2010 to 2016, ran a monthly, multi-generational writing contest.  With over 3,000,000 visitors and tens of thousands of participating students, teachers, parents, and bloggers involved over half a decade, grew into the world's largest multi-generational writing community. writing contestsWhere is the Writing Contest Now?  As grew into a global writing destination, the coordination of managing an international writing contest became too time intensive for the website's owners.  So starting on Sept. 4, 2016, unfortunately had to end the writing contest portion of its services. 

However, we are now actively looking for new owners of who may want to carry on the mission of helping to change the world, one story at a time.  If you know someone who may be interested in taking to the next level, we can share details around the opportunity.  Please send an email to our owners if there's interest to acquire the website.

But in the meantime, there's still plenty to see and do here - just check out the various links and menus on the page.

Past Annual Writing Contest Results:  While the energy and time to carry on the writing contest has come to a close, you can see summary reports and the winners from the monthly contests on our Writing Contest Winners page.  Tens of thousands of people have submitted essays over the last six years.  Our editorial team has been extremely grateful for all of the wonderful essays shared over the years - words and stories that have helped us change the world, one story at a time.

Sincerely, owners Eric & Rebecca Thiegs and Joe & Lisa Thiegs

Bragging rights, international recognition, and gift card prizes were part of the fun for participants of the free writing contests on

Mentions for the Stage of Life teen writing contests, teen trend reports, etiquette Q&A, and teacher resources by...

Our writing contests mentioned by
Our Teen Trend Report mentioned by MarketWatch Our etiquette resources mentioned by FOX Business Educator tips mentioned by Mashable


Each month over half a decade, Stage of Life hosted and judged writing contests for both students and adults.  We thank the below brands - our educational sponsors - who supplied gift cards as prizes for the winning essays as we helped the change the world through blogging, storytelling, and our literacy-based initiatives...

 Writing contest sponsor  Writing contest sponsor on  Blogging contest prize sponsor Spa & Wellness gift cards by SpaWeek writing contestsWhat made our writing contests different?

  • Stage of Life writing contests were always free to enter
  • Essays from our blogging and writing contests have been picked up by the media, e.g., and used by teachers as mentor texts across the globe
  • We wanted to hear your personal, authentic thoughts on real world topics each month.  We picked writing prompts for which your answers and wisdom may help our readers
  • We awarded the winners with real prizes (cash and/or gift cards) from our site sponsors
  • By entering the Stage of Life writing contests each month, writers were supporting our free educational literacy initiatives and their words reached hundreds of thousands of viewers who visited

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy