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July 25th, 2009
07:41 AM ET

Why is D.L. Hughley crying?

Virtually everyone remembers a teacher who inspired them to learn, encouraged them to grow, or insisted they never give up on their dreams.

For comedian D.L. Hughley that was his 5th grade teacher Lang Boston. Hughely gets pretty emotional about him in an interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien.

Was there a special teacher in your life? Tell us about them below. We may read your comments on the air in the CNN Newsroom.

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr.

    He's crying because now he has a purpose in life he gave himself a goal in life and he reached it those are tears of self pride.

    July 25, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  2. Zach Gilliam

    I definitely had a teacher that made an impact on my life. Mr. Ben Straka was my teacher for one of my Junior and Senior year classes....he said one sentence that changed my life....I'm sure he didn't even know it was that profound. I can trace all that I've accomplished back to that moment!

    July 25, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  3. Janice Phelps Williams

    Catharine Lotze was in her early seventies and my art teacher in the 1970s. She was a wonderful, inspiring teacher who saw each student as an individual, worthy of her attention and able to meet their full potential–with direction and encouragement. This petite, white-haired woman interacted with teenagers in a way I can now look back and see was amazing.

    Mrs. Lotze invited me to her home to see the beautiful creations of her mother. She sent me a letter when I went to art camp, decorated with watercolored flowers. I have it t this day.

    I guess the important thing is, she believed in me.

    I've made my living working as an artist and writer, a privlege to be able to earn money for doing what I love. It was Mrs. Lotze in Canfield, OH who lit that spark many years ago.

    July 25, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  4. jw

    Everybody is talking about the the incident at cambridge. This is not new to all the visible minority population in the US. Coloured people in this country go through racial profiling every day of their lives there is no age discrimination when it comes racial profiling. Cops always target the visible minority they will always try to stop your car to get you arrest you and put you in jail no matter what you do. Cops need to get educated at least attend college and get a degree in social science.
    President is correct the cops acted stupidly no question about that. When a minority person gets in the car he or she has to check to make sure all the signal ligts are working, tags are up to date etc. If not the cops are eager stop your car and give you a ticket. This is way of life in the US all you people who think that this is an isolated incident don't fool yourself that goes all you pundits on TV think that this country is rosy and beautiful come back to realty. Do something to change the laws and be equal.

    July 25, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  5. Bonnie Richter Gleason

    Fifty years ago, I graduated from Hollywood High School. In the first day the senior year, we were greeted by our literature teacher Mr. Major who quickly told us if we were not going to pursue higher education, then this was not the class for us and go to our counselor for a program change. Some did. Then Mr. Major, (unphased by a phyiscal handicap) asked us to open our books to the first page of the Dickens novel, " A Tale of Two Cities" and we read aloud: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

    I stayed. I pursued higher education. I became a high school and college counselor because...for me, Mr. Major's class was "The Best of Times". He was so very intelligent, articulate, and funny and he was and is absolutely the "most inspiring teacher" I have ever had.

    Two weeks ago, Mr. .Major returned to grace our presence at our 50th HS class reunion in L.A. Dicken's words were once again read to him and he received a standing ovation. Thank you Mr. M. for motivating us to Achieve the Honorable (our HS motto).

    Bonnie Richter (married name Gleason)

    July 25, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  6. robert patterson

    What wonderful stories. I wish I had the experiences theses people had. I was the invisible kid in gradeschool, very few talked to or played with me, teachers didn't make me feel special or even alive. These are feelings I had to give myself. Too many forgotten children leave school with almost nothing, no friends and barley an education. don't let them fall throught he cracks as I did.

    PS It isn't over until it's over.... I am now a college student at age 44 and have a double major in engineering with a 3.9 GPA.

    July 25, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  7. Stefanie

    I had one teacher out of 12 years of school that believed in me that was Ms. Howard. I was going through a lot at that time, but she pulled out of the fire and gave me hope. Lately I have had issues because not knowing what I will do professionally because I have always worked in the Food Industry. Just when I felt hopeless, Ms. Howard walked in and gave me hope I was looking for, so I plan on going back to school next year to better myself and my family. Lots of Love to you Ms. Howard

    July 25, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  8. Yemisi

    In the mid 1960's, Mr Elias T. O. Adereti my primary school headmaster I am not sure if he is still alive is and will remain my HERO for ever. Then in the deep rural village area of Asantan in Ondo state Nigeria as a very studious little girl he encouraged aim high. Mr. Adereti provides textbook and supplies when my mother could not afford my books etc. she is responsible for me and my 2 brothers that happens if you are from a polygamous home. Today I've earned two masters degrees and presently pursuing the 3rd. I hope to meet him or any of his children one day

    July 25, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  9. Debbie Hund

    The teacher who had the greatest impact on my life was an art teacher well known to those who graduated in the late 70s and early 80s from Hopkinsville High School in Hopkinsville, Ky. The late, great Mrs. Yvonne Gregory was originally from Galveston, Texas. Before becoming a teacher, she was an artist and a folk musician. Her life always seemed larger than life to me. She had already had an exciting and full life by the time she decided to become a teacher. I loved listening to her stories about her life.

    She changed so many lives, not just in school, but throughout her life. She was a musician, an artist, a mother, and was active in the arts community locally. Over the years, she took so many young people under her wing. She taught us much more than art, art history, cultural and social history. She taught us there was no expiration date for pursuing your dreams, by her own example. She attended college to become a teacher late in her life, but she was one of the biggest cheerleaders for the "younger generation" in our community. She brought many of us outside the classroom and into the art community at large while we were still in middle school – inviting us to local Art Guild events (she was a founding member of the Art Guild) and encouraging membership. Some of her students went on to become professional artists. I do not know of one of them who does not name her as one of the most significant influences in their life.

    While I did not make Art a career, almost every day I hear the echo of her voice in my mind, sharing some nugget of wisdom about life. It was her life as she lived it that had so much of an impact on me.

    July 25, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  10. Ibukun Fakoya

    The special teacher in my own life is a guy I choose to called Sammy. We are both immigrant to this great country. I supported him for almost three yrs going to a community college while I work tthree jobs at a point and kept two of those jobs to support him and my family back home. He rubbed it on my face saying that I spent 4yrs at a junior college doing only the Nursing prerequisite and not getting into the programme. I took it upon myself to re-orientate myself and apply to a four year and finish my Nursing degree by starting this fall. I know it will be tough doing this cos I will be attending a liberal art institution and I will pay alot from my pocket excluding the federal loans I acquired. I said to myself that his statement is a movitivation to wake me up from my slumber.

    July 25, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  11. Joseph Branch Darby

    After my father committed suicide when I was 13, my family virtually disolved. At 17, I was homeless, a year behind, had been in and out of juvenile detentions centers for two years and suicidal.

    Mr. Sapp, my high school V.P. knew my name well as I was constantly in his office for some kind of trouble. He invited me to his home to meet his wife, a librarian, and son, Morgan, to have dinner. I never left.

    After I graduated, on my way to the Gulf War with the Marines, I received a letter from them saying how I was like a son to them and that they loved me.

    Now, 23 years later, I've just returned from Morgan's wedding where we were all together, surrounded by so many people I now call family, which would have never been if it were not for such teachers.

    What they taught me goes beyond school curriculum. They taught me love. And I'm still learning it.

    Joseph Branch Darby

    George Raleigh Sapp V.P. Orange Park Park High School, FL. 1987
    Mary Angie Sapp Teacher & Librarian
    Morgan Scott Sapp Brother

    July 25, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  12. John Huff

    I am very proud of the success of DL Hughley and his expressed appreciation for Lang Boston his 5th grade teacher/mentor. My special teacher/mentor; is Kelley Cornish, Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

    As an employee of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, I was honored with being selected to participate in the CHOP INSIGHTS Forum™. The forum is a leadership training opportunity that addresses leadership disparity of the under-represented population. Among several realized successes, my greatest achievement is fluent speech. Since childhood I stuttered. I gave this impediment more power than deserved. As result, I shamefully avoided substantial opportunities, i.e. greater employment and educational interests.

    Mrs. Cornish the director and instructor for the CHOP forum although non-judgmental of my speech did not allow me to avoid speaking. Instead, she and my supportive classmates encouraged me. I became increasingly confident and eventually led several class activities. As one of the team leads I was scheduled to present the final presentation of our action-learning project. When called; I stood, and instantly froze. Cowardly sat back in my seat amongst a large audience. This ranked at the top of most devastating moments. I finally reached out for help. Without hesitation Mrs. Cornish and leaders of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia expressed belief in my potential and provided a means to correct my speech.

    I am proud and able to say; through continued management of my speech I am fluent. In appreciation and to bring value i.e., “Return-on-Investment”, I sought ways to giveback… then it came to me to turn my weakness into strength. I founded a public speaking forum with hopes to that my story will inspire and encourage others to overcome their fears of public speaking.

    Many thanks to my family, Lang Boston, Kelley Cornish and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for believing!

    BTW- Kelley Cornish would make an excellent CNN Contributor!!!

    July 25, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  13. Mary

    My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Brown made a difference in my life. She didn't give me any breaks. She made me copy a page out of a book every night so my handwriting would improve. She made me re-do assignments if they were not done to the best of my ability. We still keep in touch after almost 40 years.

    July 25, 2009 at 8:29 pm |

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