|Elva Yoak is gone from this life, but
not from our hearts.
My children have all felt her influence in their
lives, some as first grade students and others in the fourth grade. She
was very slow and deliberate, teaching her students in a way they could
understand. She lived for her students. Emily and Rachel interviewed her
this past June at the Senior Citizens Center, and even though her eyes
were dim, there was still a twinkle in her eye and a childish grin when
she remembered her students and their antics. It changed to a look of
pride when she realized that she had influenced several children in one
Elva was a beloved regular at the senior center. She
was an inspiration to any aged person who knew her. She loved to travel,
and did not let her failing health keep her from taking part. One trip
even inspired her to buy a new red hat. Her determination to keep on
exercising was something to see. It will inspire me on days that I
think, “It won’t hurt to miss one day.”
I have a favorite poem written by a long forgotten
school teacher that makes me think of Elva.
I took a piece of plastic clay,
And idly fashioned it one day.
And my fingers pressed it still,
It moved and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were past--
That bit of clay was hard at last;
The form I gave it, it still bore,
But I could change that form no more.
I took a piece of living clay,
And gently formed it day by day.
And molded with my power and art,
A young child’s soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone--
It was a man I looked upon:
He still that early impress wore,
And I could change him nevermore.
Elva had the privilege of building into the foundation
of a child’s life some of our most treasured values--truth, honor, love,
I am grateful that she was such a positive influence
on the children in her classes. Now, as school starts again, some of
these same children are returning as teachers in the classroom. Let Elva
Yoak’s ways live on in future generations.