'She never judged any of us,' he shared in a heartwarming video capturing their reunion.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 12, 2023. It has since been updated.
Teachers play an important role in our lives as they teach us many things that stay with us for a lifetime. Michael Lacey is someone who completely agrees with this. Lacey's life has not been an easy one as he spent 21 years of it in prison. But there was only one thing that kept him going during those difficult times: the time he spent with his GED teacher, Ms. Rice. A few years ago, Lacey surprised his teacher with a visit and shared their heartwarming reunion on TikTok. In the video, he explained that he ran into his teacher's roommate at a photography gig and that they hatched a plan to surprise her. The video begins with Lacey walking towards his teacher's house while saying: "I just got to my favorite teacher's house when I was doing my 21 years of prison, she is the bomb. She doesn't know I'm coming. Let's go surprise her."
Rice instantly recognizes him and exclaims: "Mr.Lacey? Oh my God!" She then goes on to give him a tight hug, visibly shocked to have been able to meet her student again. The teacher gets emotional and asks him, "How are you doing?" before inviting him inside. The text in-lay on the video reads: "Seen her help more than 300 inmates get their GED. She never judged any of us. She was a shining light in that dark place."
People on Tiktok were moved by their reunion. One wrote: "This makes my heart so happy." Another user said, "I'm not crying, you're crying so sweet." A third commented: "No one has mentioned how incredible it is [that] she uses her talents to help so many people. Such a lovely video."
In another story about a teacher who is an inspiration for many, Raymond Nelson—the student support specialist at a school in South Carolina—started a "Gentlemen's Club" for fifth graders. Nelson teaches them basic life lessons and helps them dress for success. He strives to be a father figure to the at-risk children in the community. Nelson says that the club's motto is: "Look good, feel good, do good. I was thinking maybe if I have the boys dress for success," he told WCSC-TV. "When was the last time you saw someone fighting in a tuxedo?"
He understands that many of these children don't have anyone to guide them. "I know a lot of them struggle because a lot of them don't have men at home, so I just want them to grow up and think of the things that I teach them," said Nelson. "They like the reaction of walking up to classrooms and say, 'Oh, you look so nice and handsome,' they just love it." Nelson himself was helped by a group like this, which he joined at the request of his mother. "It helped me to be a better man and I could spread the knowledge to the young boys," he said. "Gentleman's club is not just teaching you how to be a gentleman. Love who you are and accept yourself for who you are and not let anybody get in the way of that," one student shared.