“Do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa
This is how Carrie Lorentz, Miriam’s high school speech/language pathologist, carries out her work. She said when she first looked into a position at Miriam 3.5 years ago, she fell in love with the mission, the people and, most importantly, the students.
Since that time, she says the people she has encountered here have changed her life. “They reinforced to me how vital it is to collaborate with others to help children succeed and show them what their full potential is. Together, we are making a difference in their lives!”
Carrie was not completely new to Miriam when she began her tenure here, because her role model, Diane Lewis, worked as a speech/language pathologist here for several years. She had even observed Diane, who was her mom’s best friend, when she was in high school – and knew at that time that she, too, was meant to become a speech/language pathologist.
Carrie is also not a stranger to dealing with special learning needs. She had to work hard throughout her schooling, because she has challenges with reading comprehension. As she got older, she learned how to use graphic organizers, webs and other strategies to help compensate and learn the material in a way she could understand. Carrie vividly remembers getting into trouble at school as a child, though, when she was unable to answer questions correctly.
“I felt so much shame that no child should ever feel,” Carrie said. “I guess that shame has always stayed with me and developed me into the person I am today. I am determined to make a difference in each child’s life who I encounter, no matter how small. We all learn differently and may need extra help to be successful, and there is no shame in that.”
As a mother of four, Carrie knows firsthand the importance of wanting each child to succeed in school and in life. “The amazing teachers at Miriam are so dedicated to helping each of the kiddos grow and succeed. They accept students as they are, and they meet them at their learning level to help them find success. I feel blessed that I am surrounded by other people who love and care about the students as much as I do. It definitely takes a village!”
Carrie recently started working full-time at Miriam’s high school – the first time the high school has had a full-time speech/language pathologist – and she provides a wide variety of services. She meets with students individually and in groups for speech and language therapy sessions, leads conversation and social skills groups, assists with the Adult Living class for seniors, and collaborates with teachers regarding vocabulary and other topics in the classroom. She also participates in as many individual learning plan (ILP) meetings as possible.
“I love talking with parents and meeting them face-to-face,” she said. “The home-school relationship is such a critical one, and I definitely want to do anything I can to make it stronger.”
When she sees her students do something new, or fully comprehend an area they’ve been working on, Carrie knows she is making a difference. It may be small, but just as Mother Teresa said, she’s doing it with love. She also knows that to that student – or to their family – it might be HUGE!
Something that she finds especially motivating is seeing students make strides and then help one another. “I love when kids can overcome their own insecurities and weaknesses to help another peer. This just happened again recently in therapy, and it was so inspiring to see! It made me feel like, ‘This is why I am doing this!’”