Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

21 years after telling student to 'invite me to your Harvard graduation,' teacher receives invitation

On Christin Gilmer's final sixth grade report card, her teacher, Judith Toensing, wrote that she was a "joy to have in class," adding, "invite me to your Harvard graduation!"

This was in 1997, and 21 years later, Toensing was there to watch as Gilmer received her doctorate in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Toensing "lit a fire in me that helping people is a powerful tool, and through education you can better serve populations in need," Gilmer told CNN. "I will never forget her passion for others."

Before she graduated, Gilmer wrote a note on Facebook thanking everyone who supported her over the years, including Toensing, who taught her "about current events, global health, and human rights." Harvard administrators saw the post, and invited Toensing to graduation, covering the cost of her trip from Yuma, Arizona. "I have high expectations of all my students, so to hear that Christin had achieved this goal did not surprise me in the least," she told CNN. Gilmer said she would like to return to southern Arizona and work in health, politics, and community development.