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A teacher’s powerful impact

Someone once said, “Don’t ever underestimate the impact that you may have on someone else’s life.”

Many of us have had a teacher, that teacher, who has had a lasting impact. Many PSEA members are or were that teacher – and they may not even know it. 

PSEA-Retired member Norma Piccone is one of them.

The November edition of Voice detailed how one of Piccone’s former students from Sabold Elementary in the Springfield School District, Delaware County, created a program to pass on the money management lessons she learned from Piccone 53 years ago to first-grade students in Texas.

Joan Lazar and her partner Ron persuaded a private school in Texas to institute a semester-long enrichment course on finance. Along with learning about the miracle of compounding interest and how to save to become a millionaire, one of the weekly classes called “The Mrs. Piccone Lesson” includes a trip to a nearby credit union to open savings accounts in each student’s name.

Since November, the students in Texas wrote to Piccone to thank her for teaching Lazar about money management because they are now reaping the benefits of the program Lazar has started. And Piccone has written notes of encouragement to each of the students.

“This has been an exciting adventure for me,” Piccone said. “It’s just beautiful; I could cry over these tributes. It’s like a shot in the arm after retiring in 1985.”

Piccone and Lazar keep in touch on a regular basis. Piccone sent Lazar a copy of an economics book she had published in 1966. Lazar shared it with the principal of the school in Texas, and they plan to publish a book of their own.

All of this has been a blast from the past for Piccone and brings back a lot of wonderful memories from her teaching days.

And it has brought back memories for others as well.

Several of Piccone’s previous colleagues, students, and students’ parents, as well as friends, have called her to congratulate her because they read the story in Voice. Lazar’s childhood friends are calling her because they’ve seen the story. All these people are connecting or reconnecting because of one teacher’s impact.

If Piccone didn’t understand the impact she had on her students, she does now.

The students in Texas hope to pass “The Mrs. Piccone Lesson” on one day, just like Piccone did with Lazar and Lazar did with them.

“The story never ends, and my love for my students never ends,” Piccone said. “There’s just no ‘period’ on that.”