Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

November 26, 2012

Valwood teacher keeping her dreams



Traci was born 38 years ago at South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta to James and Emilie Carver of Madison. After graduating from Madison County High School, she attended Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky., where she received a bachelor of science in education. She would teach a year before graduating from the University of Georgia in Athens with a master’s degree in education.

After “enduring an 18-month interview-and-training process,” Traci said she found herself standing on Southeast Asian soil at age 25.

Coming home to Madison County, Fla., after six years, Traci began teaching ninth grade and AP English and composition at Valwood School in Valdosta in the fall of 2006.

“I just love my kids,” she said. “I love these high-schoolers. They’re old enough to interact with you on an intellectual level, and they make me laugh every day.”

But she has a legacy of instilling fear in ninth graders on the first day of class.

“I successfully terrify my high school students; they leave my room trembling on the first day of school,” she wrote in her blog ( posted Nov. 5, 2012. She began blogging humorous anecdotes on Labor Day and hopes to get a following toward a second dream: She wants to have her collection of stories from her time in Southeast Asia published.

“I like to tell a good story and make people laugh,” she said. “I am hoping the blog will help me make a name for myself so I can get the book published.”

Of her dream, she spoke in a Valwood graduation speech in 2009, “When I entered college, I had two main goals that I wished to achieve for my life. The first was to become a published writer by the age of 30. I gave myself this generous deadline because, certainly, any writer with even an ounce of talent should be able to realize the publication of at least one novel within a decade, and I wanted to get my first book out there before my mental faculties began to decline and arthritis seized my joints, rendering me incapable of grasping a pen.

“At the current age of 34, I have since revised my goal and assumptions, though my dream of one day seeing my book on a shelf in Borders lives on. I have conceded that insight and literary prowess are still possible into the fourth decade of life, and I know that my goal of becoming an author has since refined its definition to only include those shelves with the heading ‘literature’ above them. After having read, savored and taught so many beautiful literary works, to settle for a paperback with a risqué picture of Fabio on the cover is not my idea of a dream fulfilled.

“So the first lesson I have learned along my journey is to keep my dreams. While they may change shape and form as I travel, they are the substance of human motivation and the roof on a house where hope is the foundation. Even if you fear you will never live to see that house finished, never toss the blueprints.”

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