THE PATRICK SHIFFLETT FOUNDATION
A Letter From His Teacher
July 25, 2016
Every once in a while a student walks into your classroom and you know immediately they’ll leave a lasting impression. When Patrick Shifflett walked in my room, I knew immediately he was a leader among peers and had so much potential. Patrick was large in stature, which helped with his presence. When a teenage boy has a strong physique and is taller than his peers, he can use it to intimidate or to lead and motivate. Patrick used the gifts of size and strength that he was blessed with to model for his peers. Peers looked to him and he knew it, but rather than become arrogant, he embraced his role of leader. He consistently used manners and greeted everyone as he walked the halls towering above others. As an adult surrounded by teens daily, I see how they truly behave when they believe no one is watching. If Patrick did not realize adults were around, he would still hold the door, smile at others, and help a student in need. His moral character was genuine. Not only did he not join in when classmates would get off task, but he would redirect them. He knew it was not enough to simply ignore their behaviors, but he took the initiative to call them out in a respectful way and model classy and mature behaviors. Peers responded well and knew Patrick had high standards and expectations for himself and for others.
Although Patrick was blessed with a dominant presence, he maintained and increased that with his work ethic. Patrick worked hard in the classroom and would never put his name on something that was not representative of his best efforts. He took pride in everything he did. Clearly, he had a consistent and difficult workout routine that he followed closely; however, he also had a desire to achieve academically and gain as much knowledge as he could. Patrick would ask insightful questions that made others think. It was truly a joy to look forward to his presence in class each day. You can’t image how excited I was when I saw another student with the last name Shifflett on my class list the following year.
It’s no secret that teachers get busy, have meetings, and often feel overwhelmed. No matter how busy you are, when you meet an outstanding young man like Patrick, you take time to call home. I know I thoroughly enjoyed calling his mom to thank her and congratulate her on a job well done and for raising a true gentleman. When I looked at the communication log, I quickly realized I was not alone; many teachers took time to contact his family to offer well deserved praise for Patrick.
Our relationship did not stop at the end of the semester, mainly because Patrick was such a polite young man that he took time to say hi and ask me how things were going, but also because I wanted to stay connected to help him with planning his bright future. It was no secret that Patrick Shifflett was going places. Although this is not the outcome I was hoping for, I have witnessed firsthand the impact he had on others and I know that he impacted more people in his few short years than most people do in decades. He impacted others by challenging them to be better, set their personal standards higher, and treat others with respect (even when their behavior is not one you’d approve of). His legacy will live on forever through the good that other people do based on his inspiration. Patrick Shifflett was a man of true character and we are all better people when we live a life that would make Patrick proud.
Mrs. Jayme Jaramillo