Sandpoint High School counselor Jeralyn Lewis Mire received at least 15 minutes of fame yesterday.
AND it was good fame, likely to last a lifetime in the minds of Jeralyn and of all who know and love this vibrant, animated, directed, dedicated and warm-hearted educator, named as 2016 Idaho School Counselor of the Year.
Jeralyn and her fellow honorees from across the United States received the honor of standing with First Lady Michelle Obama as she delivered her farewell speech.
As she stood immediately behind the First Lady, listening to her inspirational and emotional farewell speech, I'm sure that family, friends, classmated, colleagues and just about everyone watching who's ever had the good fortune of knowing Jeralyn, surely beamed with pride and probably reminisced about their own personal experiences in her presence.
Like Michelle Obama, Jeralyn can light up any room or any heart. She has used that God-given magic both wisely and profusely on a daily basis throughout most of her life.
I can say that with confidence because of knowing her since she was about 1 year old.
My first images of Jeralyn date back to the old St. Joseph's Catholic Church when, like any precocious toddler, she loved walking up and down the church aisle or turning around in the pew directing those big brown, mildly impish eyes up toward the choir loft.
Nobody minded. She was adorable.
Later, when she was about 10, one day I witnessed firsthand many of the positive traits that would travel with her and help her succeed throughout life.
On a hot July morning in the mid-70s, Jeralyn showed up with her horse, a sack lunch and a big smile to join about a dozen others involved in a Bicentennial Trail Ride, beginning at the south end of the Long Bridge and ending about 20-plus miles later at the old Granite rest stop at the Bonner-Kootenai County border.
Twas beastly hot that day, but the cheerful attitude and sheer resilience guided this young lady through a successful ride, culminating in the handing over of Bicentennial scrolls to folks from Kootenai County.
Later, I also was fortunate to see a young leader in action when Jeralyn worked on the high school yearbook staff, which I advised, eventually serving as editor her senior year.
Because of her vision and upbeat, positive and highly inclusive nature as a leader, the year turned out to be one of the most fun I ever experienced in my career.
Same could be said by every single person on staff within whom Jeralyn, with ease, inspired a sense of importance and belonging. Lifelong friendships evolved from this environment.
Since high school, I have shared some wonderful adventures with her (two crazy days in Los Angeles, including Disneyland) and have marveled at her zest for life and her ability to transfer that to anyone she meets.
Jeralyn is truly a treasure to this community and throughout this state. She is admired and loved and highly respected for the innovative and tireless efforts she continually makes in behalf of the futures of young people in our area.
So, to see her yesterday on all those national and world news feeds, standing next to one of the most respected, admired and beloved women on the planet, it was definitely one of life's WOW moments to be shared by her parents, siblings, husband, children, relatives, colleagues, friends and educational professionals throughout the state.
A wonderful, historical and deserved triumph for Jeralyn and for all who have shared in her life's journey.
Yes, Jeralyn, we're from Sandpoint, and we couldn't be any prouder or love you any more.
Finally, the full speech delivered by our First Lady in the presence of our Jeralyn and the other honorees is well worth the time spent clicking on the link above and watching the video.
Yesterday's moment stood out as a lovely point of light in an otherwise, disturbing day. In these times, such moments become all the more meaningful and essential.
Finally, fyi, Jeralyn is a proud graduate of Gonzaga University where she served as student body president and later as a traveling admissions officer.
So, I'm sure that Jeralyn would enthusiastically join me in noting that our beloved ZAGS take on another WCC opponent tonight at 7 p.m. on Fox 28. GO, ZAGS! Reroute those Pilots for Victory No. 16.