A teacher’s lesson produces a priceless family artifact

Tyler Bradshaw reunites with his former instructor, Kim Schultheiss, to share how a classroom assignment in 2001 impacted his life.

It’s not always easy to pinpoint the moment a teacher transformed your life. Tyler Bradshaw knows the moment. He just wouldn’t realize the impact for another 12 years while grieving the death of his father.

The year was 2001, and Tyler had just started at Fairfield Freshman School. His 3rd bell class was Work & Family Life, taught by Butler Tech Family & Consumer Science instructor Kim Schultheiss.

“Ms. Schultheiss was a caring, personable, and relatable teacher who I immediately knew that I would like right away,” Tyler recalls. “She taught with a simple kindness and a sense of humor that made her immediately endearing.”

Her first assignment to the class was to have each student ask a few adults in their lives to write a letter about their best qualities and why they were loved. The letters were to be sealed in an envelope and shown to Ms. Schultheiss to confirm the assignment was complete.

The students were later allowed to open their letters privately. Tyler’s letters included one from his father with the words “A Letter to My Son” at the top. “I read through his letter, and I cried like a baby at the words he shared with me,” Tyler said.

Tyler kept his letters in a box of mementos. He reached for that letter again in 2013 when his father died. “In the midst of all the heartache and all the loss I felt in that moment, I also felt like my Dad was still there,” Tyler wrote. “Like he was still speaking to me. And that he was there telling me that, although my heart was bursting at the seams with pain right now, I would get through this.”

“I am so thankful to Ms. Schultheiss for giving us that assignment. I am so appreciative that she found a creative way to teach us a lesson, while at the same time giving us a priceless artifact, a family heirloom that would be much more than a simple assignment. Ms. Schultheiss, you gave us a touchstone that we could come back to when times got tough and when life seemed unlivable.”

Tyler recently returned to Fairfield City Schools to share with the staff the impact Ms. Schultheiss had on his life. Today, Tyler is an assistant director in the Miami University Office of Admission. You can read more about Tyler’s letter from his dad on his Seeya Bub blog:  https://seeyabub.com/2017/07/05/a-letter-from-dad/