Jackson and Payson

TCMS teacher Amanda Jackson stands with Loralei Payson as she proudly shows off her framed prints.  

Amanda Jackson, eighth-grade language arts teacher at Thomas County Middle School, recently gave an assignment to her students to write a poem to someone or something that inspires them.  

Loralei Payson, eighth-grade TCMS student, decided to write her poem to Disney about the inspiration, experiences, and memories that Disney has given her and so many others through the theme parks, movies, characters, and songs associated with Disney.  

Jackson said, “As a teacher, reading Loralei’s poem inspired me to dream again!”  

Payson, excited about her poem, shared it with another teacher, Angela Witcher, who thought she did an amazing job and felt her poem should be shared. Witcher decided to send the poem to Disney.

To all of their surprise, Payson received a heartfelt response from Disney. Keith Secord with Guest Experience Services at Walt Disney World Resort took the time to not only read the student’s poem, but responded with a very encouraging letter. 

Secord said in his response to Payson, “You have the soul of a poet that seems to be released by your words.” He went on to say in the letter that he “looked forward to seeing what great things lie ahead” for her, and he hopes “that Walt Disney World Resort and Company can continue to be a pillar of strength, creativity, and imagination for years to come.”

The response was sent to Witcher’s email. Wanting to surprise Payson with the response, Witcher and Jackson, along with fellow teachers, Brenton Smith and Tammy Melear, decided to print and frame her “Dear Walt Disney” poem and Disney’s response.

Payson was thrilled to receive a response from Disney and the presentation of her poem and letter from her teachers.

Witcher said, “I’m so happy that Loralei has found her voice in writing and hope that this is something that she will continue to pursue,” Witcher said.


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