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Centerville teacher 1 of 5 to be honored by Houston County after 31-year teaching career

Houston County School district will induct its 10th class into its Teacher Hall of Fame on Thursday.

CENTERVILLE, Ga. — Teachers have the power to touch the lives of many, and in Houston County, the school district wants to honor that impact. Debbie Meck is one of five teachers being inducted Thursday into the Houston County Teacher Hall of Fame.

"I would love to say that it was my calling, but it really, really wasn't. I was a stay-at-home mom, I had two little boys, and I took in childcare and I loved it,” Debbie Meck said.

Although her career got off to a late start, Debbie Meck has taught many Centerville students and she's heard many stories, but 11 years after retirement, her own compassion still touches a former student and his family.

"Well, his mother was in a tragic car accident and her face had been crushed and she was hospitalized for quite a while, and I did bring Michael home with me,” she recalled.

With his mother's face unrecognizable and her mouth wired, Meck says the 6-year-old needed more than a teacher -- he needed courage.

"And I said, 'Michael, your mommy can't read to you, but you can read to her every single night,' and so I got a lot of books together for him that he could read to her,” she continued.

Kathy Opitz is Michael's mother.

"He didn't have to worry about mommy back home because even at 6 and 7 years old, it’s crazy how kids want or need to be the adult, and Debbie helped him stay a child," Opitz said.

Opitz wrote the letter nominating Meck for the teachers hall of fame.

"She did more than any mother could ever imagine or thought she could need. God knew we needed Debbie in our life,” she explained.

Meck says she never thought the seeds she'd sown all those years ago would bloom today.

"Never in a million years did I think, 'My picture will be on that wall someday,' so I was quite shocked,” she smiled.

Thursday night, Houston County will recognize not only Meck, but Jane Adams, Jane Belflower, Mary Gentry, and Patricia Ogletree. That ceremony will be Thursday at 5 p.m. in Perry at the Houston County School District boardroom.

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