SES teacher encourages others to never stop following their dreams

SES teacher encourages others to never stop following their dreams

Not everyone has the determination or the bravery to chase their dreams. But, Scottsburg Elementary School teacher Trisha Riley does.

When Riley was a little girl, she dreamed of being an elementary school teacher. However, her dream did not become reality until much later in life — after she graduated high school in the top 10 percent of her class, after she started a family, after she finished college, after she started working on her master’s degree, after she drove a school bus for 12 years, and after she spent time as a special education aide for six years.

“…I began to look at the future more,” Riley said about the point where she decided to chase her dream. “Is this really where I want to be in five years or even 10 years down the road? The answer was no.”

With hard work and determination, Riley made her dream come true this school year after being hired as one of Scottsburg Elementary School’s newest teachers.

“I have learned that with a lot of hard work, dedication and passion I have accomplished something that was only a dream in the beginning,” Riley said. “But isn’t that where it must start in order to be pursued? [A] dream becomes reality if a person works toward it. If I can do it, I know others can also.”

Along with her hard work, dedication, and passion, Riley had some encouragement from another Scott County School District 2 teacher, whom she considers her mentor.

“Carolyn Nowlin gave me the inspiration I needed to pursue my passion for teaching. She gave me great opportunities to learn every chance I could take. She allowed me to do lesson plans and made me feel like I was a part of the classroom,” Riley said. “…Carolyn advised me to go back to college and get my teacher’s degree.”

Nowling was not the only person to encourage and help Riley as she pursued her lifelong dream.

“I had such a big support team from friends and family to the teachers at Scottsburg Elementary,” Riley said. “The teachers took me in and allowed me to complete my teacher observations. They answered my questions and supported me the entire way.”

As a working mother, Riley needed some help at home when she needed to study or attend classes in the evening hours.

“My mom, Polly Higgins, and my stepdad, Mike Higgins, were a huge part of my success,” Riley said.

Through all the long hours at work, at college, and at home with her two daughters, Riley’s journey to reach her goals has paid off. She encourages others to pursue their dreams.

“Don’t let anyone tell [you] that [you] can’t do something because anyone can do anything when they put their mind to it,” Riley said.

Riley’s example of never giving up on her dreams is an inspiration to others. At Scott County School District 2, Riley’s story is our story. Your story matters. You matter.