ROANOKE, Va. – Quanesha Moyer did not let her challenging childhood stop her from teaching kids to change their outlook on life.
Students call her Ms. Q. Throughout the week you’ll find Ms. Q teaching at the Roanoke Minnick School. Minnick Schools help students who have experienced challenges in public schools reach their academic, behavioral, vocational, and developmental goals.
Growing up, Ms. Q experienced very similar challenges to those of her students.
“Going from foster home to foster home to foster home, from group home to group home … you get this message sent to you that you’re not loved, that you’re not valuable, that you’re not enough, that you’re not worthy. Like why am I not good enough to be here,” Moyer said.
Along with going from foster home to foster home, Ms. Q transferred from school to school. One day everything changes when one of her teachers sat on a hill beside her until the sun came down.
“He didn’t care that I just sprayed the whole entire school with a fire extinguisher. He didn’t care that I cussed him out. He didn’t care that I went to the store and stole a soda because I was thirsty. He did not care,” Moyer said. “He was just like whatever it takes I’m just going to be here and that to me was like wow somebody does stay. Like I am valuable … somebody does see me.”
After spending some time at Coyner Springs, a Roanoke Valley Juvenile Detention Center, her attitude flipped. She wanted to prove the people that thought she wasn’t good enough wrong.
“I have to prove them wrong. I’m a Moyer, I always do the opposite of what people tell me,” Moyer said.
Ms. Q would eventually apply to teach at one of the schools she once rebelled at – Roanoke Minnick School. Two years later, she’s thriving in her work.
Ashley Wittl-Osborn is the Director of Educational Services for Minnick Schools. She believes there needs to be more Ms. Q’s in their line of work.
“Ms. Q is amazing. If you ever watch her work with students, the number one thing you’re going to hear is her using the word ‘we’,” Wittl-Osborn said.
“When they hear the word ‘we’ then they realize that hey I got somebody standing beside me. I have somebody on my team,” Moyer said.
Melissa Graybill’s daughter Sadie is one of Ms. Q’s students. Graybill said her daughter actually looks forward to going to school now.
“The other school systems would just send her home. They didn’t give Sadie the chance to flourish and shine or asked her any questions or help her out with learning how she can come out of her problems or showing her best ability. Ms. Q gives her a chance to do that,” Graybill said.
Ms. Q said she can be the voice for the children while being the eyes for the teacher. She is able to connect with the students on such a different level since she was once in their shoes.
She uses her story as an example of hope.
“When they ask, ‘I can’t make it one more day’, I’m like ‘but look this is what one more day looks like.’ This is like what one more chance of hope looks like. You can make it one more day. Because those one more days turn into one more months and then those one more months turn into years,” Moyer said.