My Top Ten Inspiring People


Most of us have pretty routine days, which is great because they allow the special days to really be special!  Most of my day today was pretty ordinary.  Around 4:30 this afternoon, I sat down at the computer to do some very typical schoolwork.  That’s when my relatively ordinary day turned into something special.  When I checked my email, I found a note from Dana Hankins, the movie producer of Under the Blood Red Sun.  Suddenly, my run-of-the-mill day was not so run-of-the-mill.  Through our blog, we have made a connection with a movie producer, actors, and the author and screenplay writer, Graham Salisbury.  These people are taking the time to email, Tweet, blog, and now Skype with us as we share our experiences learning, reading and writing.

How many kids do you think have the opportunity to talk with authors and movie producers about books?  Are we not fantastically lucky that people in Hawaii are interested in what we are learning here in Florida?  Not only are they interested, but they want to HELP us LEARN MORE!  How great is that?

Dana Hankins inspires me!  Thank you, Dana!  Thank you for turning what could have been an ordinary classroom experience of reading and discussing a novel into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and my kids.


And with that, I have to now list nine more people who inspire me in my work.  They make the ordinary extraordinary.

9. Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood Red Sun and commenter on our blog!

8. Priscilla Cummings, author of Red Kayakthe first author who visited our classroom, and with whom I got to eat dinner

7. Joan Hiatt Harlowe, author of Thunder from the Sea and a resident of our hometown, Venice

6. Liz Lantigua, author of Mission Libertad who visited our school and related the work involved in publishing her first novel for young people

5. Fern Schumer Chapman who wrote Is it Night or Day? about her mother’s escape to America during the Holocaust and who Skyped with us

4. . Anjna Chouhan and Lisa Peter, the curators of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust who Skyped with us during our celebration of the Bard’s 450th birthday

3. Jan Smith, teacher extraordinaire and Huzzah! blogger

2. Sue Waters and Ronnie Burt, the Edublogs Support Team.  Without Sue and Ronnie, my kids and I would not be blogging because I would be lost in the technology.  Nobody does customer service like Edublogs.  Nobody.  Nowhere.

1. My KIDS!  Think of all the special times we share during our routine schooldays.  Last night I saw one of my former students at a New Year’s Eve party.  He said, “When I heard you were here, I had to come right over to see you.”  Now those were special words for a regular old language arts teacher to hear.   My kids inspire me every day.

Who or what inspires you?

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38 thoughts on “My Top Ten Inspiring People

  1. YOU! Plain and simple. You inspire me and luckily both of my daughters. Your inspiration to others shines off of you. This January 2nd blog is my favorite! God bless you!

    • Awww, shucks. Kind of neat how everything is a big circle, huh? I have great students and parents; they keep me going. That in turn helps motivate the kids; that makes the parents happy; then right back to me again. It sure is nice when we’ve got the groove going! All the cogs are working together. Yahoo! Thank YOU for keeping things turning in the right direction. God bless you as well.

  2. Hey Mrs. Donofrio!
    Before i start i would like to say congratulations on winning the eddie award for the class blog! Now time to answer the question, which was who or what inspires you. I have a couple of people that inspire me so i will just number them down.
    1.) My Parents
    2.) My older brothers and sisters
    3.) My Grandparents
    The reason why i chose these people is because i look up to them and they help me in the things that i do, like playing basketball or doing homework. P.S, I am really excited for getting our blogs tomorrow!


    • I’m excited for you all to get your own blogs, too, Dominic! I’m also glad to see how your family inspires you to be the best you can be in sports and in school.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  3. Dear Mrs. Donofrio
    My step dads mom or should i say my grandma.

    Who is a singer that inspires you?
    Is there anyone who just plain does not inspire you in one way?

    • Hi Shane,
      After watching her Scholastic interview, I have to say that Taylor Swift inspires me.
      Sometimes people inspire me NOT to act in a certain way. I’m not sure if that counts as inspiration, though. Other people just don’t make much of an impact one way or another. Kind of sad, actually.
      How does your grandmother inspire you?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

      • My grandma inspires me with how she treats others. She is always very kind and sweet with others and she is an inspiration to my mom to. At least that’s what I think my mom said once.
        Is there animal who inspires you?

  4. Dear Mrs. Donofrio,

    The people who inspire me is my mom and dad. They inspire me because they help me when Im sad and help me when I need help with my homework. Why did you did you pick this question?

    Courtney Rieff

    • Hi Courtney,
      I picked this question because I was corresponding with Dana Hankins over the break, and I was so amazed and happy that she has taken so much time from her schedule to interact with our class. Certainly, she did not have to do that; she wrote to us out of the kindness of her heart rather than due to any personal gains for herself. That type of attitude is rare, I think, and it inspires me.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  5. Dear Mrs. Donofrio,
    I love that you included ten people, or groups, that inspired you! My list of inspirational people, or things, in my life is very large. First off, there is my parents. They do everything for me and my siblings. That makes my life more enjoyable. Second, there is my favorite song writer and singer, Taylor Swift. She donates a lot of the money that she makes for concerts to charities, shelters, etc. Also because her music is appropriate for all listeners. The last person that I think inspires me is most certainly you, Mrs. Donofrio. You make learning so much fun; You entertain me and my classmates by acting out plays, playing jeopardy, and always making sure that we understand every single bit of the lesson you have taught us. Thank you very much for that. Did any of your middle school teachers inspire you? If so, how?

    • Thank you so much, Grace, for your kind comment. I am so glad that I do inspire you because I think that is the job of a teacher! All teachers should work towards the goal of inspiring their students. They might not be inspirational every single day, because that is hard to do, but the overall effect should be that a teacher inspires his/her students to do the best they can and be the best they can.
      Two of my middle school teachers did inspire me; one, I have to say, did not. My 6th and 8th grade teachers, Sister Ramon and Sister Alice, both worked hard to make sure we lived the lives God intended us to live. By their example, they showed us what discipline of character was all about. They gave us 100% effort every day, and they expected the same from us. That meant in our studies and in our behavior. My 7th grade teacher was a man who, unfortunately, is what lots of people think of when they think of teachers. I think he just wanted an easy job that finished at 2:30 and didn’t require any work in the summer. We did next to nothing in that class; any work we did do, he barely looked at. I had to figure out how to learn on my own that year. I guess that was a valuable lesson in itself.
      I try to bring the best of all my own previous teachers to light in our classroom. I am lucky in that I had some wonderful role models. What do you want to do when you grow up, Gracie?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  6. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    Congratulations on winning best class blog in the Eddie awards!
    Some people who inspire me are……
    1.) My teachers
    2.) My acting coach Ron
    3.) My parents
    4.) Harriet Tubman
    5.) Nelson Mandela
    and many more people.
    My teachers, my acting coach, and parents inspire me by always being good role models and telling me I can achieve anything I put my mind to.
    Even though Harriet Tubman or Nelson Mandela never spoke to me personally I still find their quotes and words to be very inspiring, and help me to do my best. I also look up to them for their courage and bravery.
    I am very excited to get my blog. What feelings did you have before getting your blog, and did you ever imagine it would be voted number one blog in the world?

    • Hi Sophia,
      I agree with you that there are lots of inspiring people whom we have never met. I find Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan to be very inspiring. I also admire Elizabeth Seton, Clara Barton, and Sarah Hale. They didn’t let any adversity stand in the way of their goals. Harriet Tubman and Nelson Mandela are great choices, too. Have you seen the movie Invictus about Nelson Mandela? There is a poem by the same name as well. Both are inspiring.
      I am excited for you to get your own blog, too. I think you will really love it, especially since you enjoy writing. I never, ever thought we would be voted number one in the world, but I did hold out hope that we would be nominated at some point. It sure is exciting news, isn’t it?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  7. Dear Mrs.Donofrio,
    I cant believe we won the blog award, that is so cool!
    These are the things that inspire me because it so fun and it makes me better at it. because t makes me feel better
    3. My friends because there really funny and cool

    • Hi Will,
      I agree with you that music can be very inspiring. Also, music and sports together….that is a combination that often just can’t be beat. Perhaps that’s why they play some pumped up music before athletic events. I know that before basketball games, the teams warm up to some really fun tunes. I really enjoy listening to my iPod when I am running. That inspires me to work my hardest. Do you have a favorite song or group that inspires you? One of my favorite songs to run to is ‘Til the Love Runs Out by One Republic.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  8. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    Congratulations on winning best class bog!

    Here is my list of three people or things inspire me and one reason why

    3.) Horses inspire me. As silly as it may sound horses inspire me because they where a big part in our history.

    2.) My friends inspire me. My friends inspire me because they help me with things I may not be good at like knitting.

    1.) The most inspiring thing in my life is my family. My family inspires me because they are very positive and happy people.

    Do you have any favorite quotes? My favorite is “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” ~ Margaret Mead


    • Hi Emma,
      What a great quote! It is very true also; we are all similar and unique. That’s quite a paradox! I have a few favorite quotes. Here is one of them. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. This, I think, is where one of my favorite songs originates. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” I try to let my light shine on everyone I meet, but I have to admit, some days have cloudy spots in them!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  9. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    I love that you think that us kids are inspiring. That makes me feel inspired!
    The person who probably inspires me the most is my mom. She manages to get my sister and I to school and to our after school activities while she has a life of our own.
    Next comes my dad. He owns his own business and still manages to help around the house.
    Then there is Taylor Swift. She is my favorite singer and inspires me to follow my dreams.
    Do your parents inspire you?

    • Hi Brianne,
      I think it is great that your parents inspire you, and yes, my parents inspire me as well. Although my father passed away almost 30 years ago, I remember him as a very intelligent man who enjoyed intellectually stimulating conversations. He and his family of four brothers, two sisters and parents, used to sit around the Sunday dinner table engaged in highbrow and witty discussions. I always emulated that manner of speaking: confident, articulate, and thoughtful. My mother was always a very emotionally strong woman; nothing could stop her from completing her duty to us as children or to her job as a nurse. She never complained about things being difficult or unfair. She just did what needed to be done tirelessly, often without thanks as well. These are qualities I try to engender in myself, and if I begin to feel discouraged, I look to my parents for inspiration.
      I will also say that until we saw Taylor Swift on Scholastic, I didn’t give her much thought, but now I agree with you. She is also very inspiring. She certainly has made a great success of herself at a very young age, and she is a woman of conviction. I like both of those qualities. Good choice!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  10. Dear Mrs. Donofrio,
    This post is one of my favorites. It really makes me think about who inspires me. I would probably have to say that my parents inspire me most. They really help me do my best. My parents care for me every minute of everyday. Next, are my older sisters. They are the best sisters I could possibly have. They do things they would rather not do, for me. Finally, are my teachers. You do everything you can to get everyone to learn. I love all the teachers I have. They help in my schoolwork and in homework. ( if we have time ) Did any of our teachers inspire you when you were in school?

    ~ Julia

    • Hi Julia,
      I’m glad you like this post! I have to say that your parents, and especially your mom, inspire me, too. Your mom is so kind and pleasant all the time. She really tries to think about situations from others’ perspectives; she goes out of her way to make life more pleasant for everyone around her.
      I have been fortunate to have had some inspiring teachers, also. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Crisp, was such a giving woman. Even at age five, I realized how she went out of her way to help us learn and make us feel special. She put my class into groups and then invited each group to her house for dinner one night. She lived in an apartment building, so we rode an elevator, which was great fun at age 5. In her apartment, she let us jump on her bed, also great fun. Then we had dinner, which included corn on the cob (yum-o!) and Hawaiian Punch in wine goblets. Super cool for kindergartners! (We always had milk for dinner at my house.) After dinner we washed the dishes by hand and blew bubbles around the kitchen. Then we went to a playground and had ice cream on the way home. This was one of the best days of my life at age 5, and actually still ranks pretty high because it showed how much our teacher loved us. I don’t think too many kids feel that special in the eyes of their teacher. I try to emulate Mrs. Crisp as much as I can, although nowadays, teachers would never be allowed to take a group of students to their home for dinner. (Sad, although I guess necessary.) I try to make my students feel special in other ways, though. I’m not sure if I do as good a job as Mrs. Crisp, but I try! She is continuing to inspire me 40 years after I left her class. Thank you, Mrs. Crisp, wherever you are!
      Would you ever consider being a teacher, Julia? What job might you like to have when you are older?

  11. Dear Mrs. Donofrio,
    I loved reading about the different people that inspires you. I would love to list some of the people that inspire me.

    1. My dad inspires me because he is a police officer and he put his life in line to help other that are in need.
    2. My mom inspires me because even if she is having a bad day she always takes care of my sister and I.
    3. My grandfather
    4. My nana
    5. Taylor Swift
    6.Kristen Bell
    7.Matt Damon
    8.Whitney Huston
    9.Oprah Winfrey
    10. Anne Frank
    11. Mary
    12. Mrs. Donofrio
    I hope you enjoyed learning something new about me. There are so many people that I appreciate and . What are some of your favorite moments in history that changed the our lives today?

    • Hi Reanne,
      What a diverse list you have! I love it! You also asked a thought provoking question. One inspirational movie that I saw tells the story of a moment in history that changed our lives is the movie The Long Walk Home starring Whoopie Goldberg and Sissy Spacek. It is about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and how this event affected the lives of two women. I bet your mom would really like this movie, too. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  12. Hi Mrs.Donofrio,
    I really can’t believe that our blog won best class blog in the world. THATS CRAZY! Anyway, some people and things that inspire me are:
    1.Baseball because ever since I was little I always watched baseball and it always makes me excited to watch the World Series.
    2. My parents because they are always there for me when I’m feeling down in the dumps and inspire to help others.
    3. My friends because the always tell me to try harder and never give up when I give up and it makes me keep trying.

    If you were down in the dumps, how would it make you feel if someone cheered you up?

    Congrats again,

    • Hi Kyle,
      You have a great list of inspirational people. I would feel great if someone cheered me up when I was down in the dumps. I’m so glad you have inspirational friends; not every does, you know. You are lucky to have these friends.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  13. Hi Mrs. Donofrio,
    Congratulations on wining the blog contest now on to the question. Here are some people that inspire me.

    1. Babe Ruth because he is one of the best baseball players in the world and he shows what hard work will do.

    2. The next person that inspires me is Barry Bones because he is another famous baseball player.

    3. Last but not least Ozzie Smith

    • Hi Tristan,
      Some athletes are certainly very inspiring. I haven’t heard of Ozzie Smith. Can you tell me about him? I have heard of a baseball player named Barry Bonds. Is this the same person as the one you about?
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  14. Hi Mrs. Donofrio!
    That was a great post! You used so much detail in all the people that inspire you and why. I’ve never really thought about who inspires me before, but now that you mentioned it, I can think of tons! Here are some of those people:
    1. Suzanne Collins: first off, Suzzane Collins inspires me because she wrote my favorite book series “The Hunger Games.” This is also my favorite movie series too. I have read all 3 books to the series and they all inspire me, but I half to say MockingJay is my favorite.
    2. My uncle: My uncle lives a little far away from me, but he has inspired me so much and he has done so much for me. He inspires me because he always tells me to follow my dreams and to be what I want when I grow up and to not let anyone stop me.
    3. You!: You also inspire me Mrs. Donofrio! In lots of ways to: Acting out plays, using examples, evaluating ourselves, helping us when we have trouble, always giving us the honest and best credit we deserve, ect. Thank you for that!
    And finally Taylor Swift. All of her songs inspire me so much, and she donates almost 75% of the money that she earns to charities and more.
    Well that’s all I half to say for now, but once again, great post!
    Besides authors or movie producers, is there anyone in your family that inspires you? Do you have a singer that inspires you? Is there also a movie that inspires you?
    God Bless,

    • Hi Lexi,
      Thanks for making me smile today! I really appreciate your kind words. I also think Taylor Swift is inspirational. I honestly didn’t know much about her prior to watching her Scholastic video, but now I am a real fan! I like the way she turned lemons into lemonade with her song, “Shake It Off”. Someone had been rude to her, and instead of being rude back, or sulking, or becoming depressed, she decided to “shake it off” and write a song about it, making millions of dollars in the process! She is one smart, tough cookie! I also am impressed by the fact that she writes all her own songs and that she has been so successful at such a young age. It is really great to hear about all her charitable giving, too.
      I am lucky in that lots of people in my family inspire me, and mostly in different ways. My husband had a very tough childhood; his parents died within one year of each other when my husband was only 7-8 years old. His older sister, who was only 19 and who had a one-year-old baby, took him in to live with her, her new husband, and their baby. Fifteen years later, she died. So, at age 24, my husband had lost both his parents and his sister. You would never know that my husband had gone through so much difficulty when he was younger, and even at the time I met him, which was a month before his sister died, because he is always upbeat and positive. He is a really hard worker, too, mostly because he has always had to provide for himself. He is pretty inspiring to me because of his good attitude and work ethic.
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

    • Thank you, Komal! We are so glad to have you as a reader, and we appreciate your kind words. We hope you will continue to visit us!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio and Kids

    • Hi Trantham,

      I am so glad to hear that you like our blog! I have visited your class blog and left a comment. I couldn’t find your name on the student blogroll, though. Do you have your own blog? I do like your class blog, though. Have you visited many other class blogs? One of our favorites is Huzzah! They are located in British Columbia, Canada. You can find them at I am looking forward to your student tips of the week. We hope to blog with you again soon!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

  15. Dear Mrs.Donofrio,
    This blog is very interesting and inspiring. I think that it is very neat and I enjoyed it.
    from Katie

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