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Shelly Noisette, Retired Teacher, Humanitarian, Volunteer, (and Mom to Steven Banks and his sisters)

My career was in music education as an elementary school music teacher. One of the most impactful parts of my job was helping students that were labeled as an “underdog” or a “problem child” thrive in the arts. I’ve always felt it important to highlight the students that were struggling in their regular classroom through music. When I saw a certain spark in them, I would put them on the stage. I would let them sing solos, perform an instrumental accompaniment, or cast them in an important role. These are the children who need to see themselves succeed, and in many cases, that means they need any opportunity to do so.

Their success became my weight. This experience would only make a difference to them if they did well, and it was my decision to put them in the role. I always felt it was worth the risk because it made a difference to the students, and it helped their classroom teachers and peers see another side of the student. The effects of this may never be known to me. I only hope the children will have a warm memory of their time in elementary school and will have a bit more confidence in their abilities as they travel through life.

In retirement, I have been the president of the Winston-Salem Chapter of National Women of Achievement Inc., the largest chapter in my region. This is an active service organization of 33 women that all are passionate about making a difference to the men, women and children of our community. I carry the weight of leadership as we work with many different kinds of groups including nursing homes, schools, women’s prisons, the Sickle Cell Disease Association, and youth groups. We provide a wide variety of services including workshops, social gatherings, entertainment, educational opportunities, reading with children, career exposure, and college preparation as well as providing essentials such as clothing, personal supplies, and meals. Sometimes the effects are seen immediately and sometimes they will not surface until years later. Either way, helping others is always the right thing to do.


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