Throughout my life, I have been blessed to be exposed to some great teachers.
I recall with particular fondness and gratitude three high school teachers in particular who made a tremendous impact on me.
Growing up, I was very shy. I was a very good student but preferred to stay in the background. In grade school, I rarely spoke up in class. I spent my free time with my nose buried in a book. My aspirations were limited. Marie Gallagher, Marianne Burpulis, and Joe Sanquilli helped to change all that. They didn’t just teach me English, Italian, and History. They drew me out of my shell and provided me with opportunities to grow. They introduced me to other cultures, a love of travel, and the importance of service. They pushed me to share my opinions and thoughts, convincing me that others might want to hear what I had to say. They saw potential in me that I didn’t know even existed.
Because of their support and encouragement, my confidence increased. I began to believe that I might have more to offer. I became more vocal. I got involved in many extracurricular activities, frequently in leadership positions. After graduating from LaSalle University, I continued on to Harvard Law School. Such a path would have been unimaginable for a young woman who was the first in her family to attend college. Had it not been for these committed educators, I am not sure that I would have ever become a trial lawyer or had the fantastic roles that I’ve held at Vanguard.
Great teachers continue to play an important role in the lives of young people. I am inspired by my sister, Frances Daly, who teaches at a charter school in Philadelphia. She does many of the same things that my teachers did for me so many years ago: she encourages young women and men to find their voices in order to make a difference; sets out high expectations for them; and believes in them so that they too can believe in themselves.
I thank the teachers who had such an impact on my life. I also am grateful to today’s teachers who, like my sister, are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the young people who will be the leaders of tomorrow.