Class Act: Diane Petty


By Brandon Merano

PINCKNEYVILLE -- Being looked up to is nothing new for Pinckneyville Junior High English teacher Diane Petty.

"She's always there to help us. She's a really great woman, and English is never boring," said Pinckneyville student Sophie Ashbrook.

You'd have a hard time finding a bored student in Petty's class. The long-time teacher likes to spice things up for her students.

"I don't think that any kid should have to sit and listen to someone talk for thirty minutes. I think you need to do a lot of different things," explained Petty.

But Petty's teaching reaches beyond the classroom. She's had a big impact on seventh grader Sophie Ashbrook.

"She's not just a teacher. I mean she's my best friend, she's a therapist when you need her. She's always there for you," said Ashbrook.

Every year since 1995, Petty's class has gone to Washington D.C. Through the years, she has paid the way for more than 30 students.

"That opportunity, it's a lifetime, and if I can make it happen for that child, then I want to do what I can do so they can have that memory. Because it may be the only time they get to go," said Petty.

Almost 20 years and many students later, she is still paving the way for her students' dreams, each time leaving behind a homemade wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown.

"You know, I had one student who really loved it. She has now went ahead and is now an intern in Washington," said Petty.

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