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September 28, 2007   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
September 28, 2007

Mary Louise Farrior White
MONTGOMERY -- Mary Louise Farrior White didn't have to look far to find the inspiration behind her teaching philosophy.

"It was developed over the past 60 years from the environment created by my parents," says White, a kindergarten teacher at Randolph Park Elementary in the Anniston City Schools System. "Although both of my parents were black, blind and uneducated, the value of education was displayed by them in everyday living. My philosophy of education is that all children can learn in a safe environment when given respect while participating in developmentally appropriate activities."

In recognition of her teaching skills, White was selected as Alfa's Teacher of the Month for October. As this month's winner, White will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance, and her school will receive a matching award from the Alabama Farmers Federation.

White earned her master's degree in early childhood education from the University of Alabama in 1995, and her bachelor's in early childhood education for the handicapped from Talladega College in 1982.

It was also in 1982 that she began her career, teaching second-graders at Southwest Alabama School for the Blind in Mobile. She later taught as an independent living instructor at the Alabama School for the Blind in Talladega.

Of course, White's first lessons in hands-on experiences came at the hands of her blind parents. "I was given time to talk about experiences and ask questions," she said. "Clarity was given while learning took place. My parents were a positive, motivating force in my life, and they continue to be. Therefore, my philosophy of education was built on the model provided in my parents' home. I strongly believe that children will develop essential life skills in a safe, nurturing environment where respect for humankind is established."

During 2007, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation will honor one outstanding teacher from each of Alabama's eight state school board districts, as well as two principals and two private school teachers. Application information is available under Alfa Teacher of the Month in the Ag Links section of www.AlfaFarmers.org.

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