A Hoosier with a Passion for Paying it Forward: Dortha G.
Hoosier Lottery Beneficiary, Teachers’ Retirement Fund
For 32 years, Dortha taught third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade students in La Porte, Ind. To say she’s a seasoned pro is an understatement. In fact, many of her students say she was the best teacher they ever had.
Dortha spent 12 years in the work force sharpening her communication skills and developing an impressive work ethic before going to college for teaching. She credits her interest in education to her own teachers. “I had great role models, they encouraged me to do my personal best. They motivated me to learn, and they were always understanding and affirming,” she said. “I guess subconsciously I just wanted to pay it forward, to give children the same positive experience I had.”
Dortha’s favorite subjects to teach were under the language arts umbrella–things like spelling, reading and composition. However, looking back on 32 years of teaching, some of Dortha’s most prized memories happened outside the classroom. “I enjoyed the extracurricular activities like Christmas plays, field trips, all those extra little things,” she said. “I especially just loved being involved in the children's lives.”
After more than three decades of teaching, Dortha has some sound advice for people entering the education field. “Build good relationships with your students, students’ parents, and your colleagues, because you really can't do it alone,” she said. “Get off to a good start right away and just continue year after year with that same pattern, helping each other along the way.”
Dortha retired in 2001 and has stayed involved in her community over the years, volunteering for the Red Cross, the Handley School’s “Helping One Student to Succeed” program and participating in church activities. Now, she enjoys watching TV, listening to music, keeping in touch with friends on social media and watching her great-great niece after school. “I mentor her with her school activities and help with e-learning days,” she said. “It gives me great pleasure – seeing her successes and achievements, even at such a young age.”
Dortha is a proud Indiana resident and jokes that she could work for the La Porte Chamber of Commerce because she’s always saying such positive things about her community. “The people here epitomize hospitality,” she said. “There’s so much to do, but really, it all goes back to the people.”
Dortha would also like to recognize all the other dedicated, inspirational teachers who were not interviewed for this article.
The Hoosier Lottery would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Dortha and all the other teachers who make a huge difference in the lives of so many, each and every day.