Martha Warren could have found an easier path than teaching youngsters in a poverty-wracked community. She could have found an employer with a better track record than East St. Louis School District 189.
But she has spent a decade where she is most needed.
Warren was among about 30 metro-east teachers recently awarded the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award. The fact that she received one for working in an environment that has defeated so many is especially impressive.
We also got a chuckle from the fact that she considers herself "a nut," yet in the next breath sums up what we see as the essence of common-sense teaching: "I'm not here to be their friend. I'm here to help them think, not tell them what to think."
Teens have plenty of people ready to tell them what to think, whether it be peers pushing easy answers, self-destructive behaviors and anti-education sentiments or adults furthering their own aspirations and agendas.
We celebrate the Warrens who follow the road less taken and teach youngsters to navigate their own paths. Thank you, and congratulations on much more than the award.