By Jessica Easthope
Jeanine Rana and Maria Obiol are back in fourth grade at Sacred Heart Catholic Academy of Bayside with their teacher Miss Colardi, they’re laughing, listening and learning, just like they did all those years ago.
It’s been 43 years, but the girls still can’t call Miss Colardi by her first name.
“She always says you should call me Regina but I say I can’t, you’re Miss Colaridi,” Maria said.
And Regina has the same problem.
“These children, I’m going to keep calling them children because that’s what they were to me,” she said.
They’ve kept in touch here and there, but recently life has come full circle. The girls, needed Regina’s love and support as chatty kids trying to learn their times tables – but now Regina needs theirs.
“We were raised to do what Jesus taught us and we still do and that exemplifies the true value of a Catholic education,” Jeanine said.
Regina has stage-four kidney disease. When the girls found out, Miss Colardi’s fourth grade class got to work, raising money to send her a gift card for meals. But more than that – they gave Regina an inside look at the impact she made on them.
“Everyone reaching out to her, the emails and the messages, just that we were thinking of her,” said Maria.
“You don’t realize the power you do have over children and how you can impact and steer their direction,” Regina said.
Regina’s waiting for a kidney transplant.
“I do believe that God has made this plan for a reason, he knew that I needed their support and I was happy to have given it to them when they needed it,” she said.
The girls by her side all the way.
“It doesn’t matter when or why, we’ll be there in a heartbeat,” Jeanine said.
Showing that the influence of a good teacher can never be erased.