If patience is a virtue for a teacher, Alicia White of Eastern Elementary goes to the head of the class.
The special education teacher with 13 years experience has demonstrated fortitude in her personal life that goes above and beyond.
Six years ago, she and her husband Jonathan traveled to Guatemala to adopt 9-month-old Quinten. Six years later, Quinten is still in Guatemala.
The simple explanation for the delay? Government delays in Guatemala.
But that hardly captures the heartache of Alicia and Jonathan who have traveled to the Latin American country 20 times in the past six years.
When they visit a week at a time, they stay in a hotel with Quinten, go to the zoo, the pool, a local park – behave like a normal family. The rest of the time Quinten lives with a foster family in Guatemala who support his adoption.
Finally, the Whites have received good news from Guatemala. The last adoption hurdle has been cleared and Quinten will be allowed to join his American family in Lexington.
“It’s been heart-wrenching,” Alicia said. “When we leave Guatemala, Quinten cries and says, ‘Are you taking me back to Kentucky?’
“We’ve had to take it one day at a time but we are so happy now. It still might take a few months, but we can see the finish line now.”
How about that for patience?
“Obviously, patience is one of her attributes,” Principal Ed Denney said about Alicia. “She’s also very knowledgeable, truly loves children and works so hard to help students improve.”
White, who has served as president of the Scott County Education Assn., fell in love with special education when she taught ninth graders at Scott County High in 2001.
Two years later she transferred to Eastern, a school she attended as a child. She leads the special education department and carries a caseload of 12 students.
“They all have different strengths and challenges, and I love it when they have successes in areas where they’ve struggled,” she said.
Next fall, she hopes another special student joins the school – her adopted son Quinten.
“It will be good to have him at the same school with me,” Alicia said. “When we bring him to Kentucky, I will feel complete, like our family will be complete.”
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