Retired teacher inspires former dropout to finish high school - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Retired teacher inspires former dropout to finish high school

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

A few years ago, retired teacher Don Huff and his wife went to eat at Gravy's Diner in Cedar Falls.

His waitress was Andria Shaffer, one of his former students at Waterloo West High.

"I did recognize her face, and I asked her when she graduated.she said I didn't graduate," said Don Huff.

Shaffer should have graduated in 2000, but she dropped out her junior year.

"I didn't think at that time that graduating was something that would be that important in my life, and it turned out it was my biggest regret," she said.

Huff believed Shaffer's regret was sincere.

"Both my wife and myself said it's not too late," said Huff.

The former science teacher got information for Shaffer on how to complete her GED, and stayed in touch with her during the process.

"He believed in me. He thought it was something I could do. I thought if someone I haven't seen from high school believes in me, I can do this," said Andria Shaffer.

Shaffer didn't stop when she got her GED.

Two years ago, she started the Respiratory Care Program at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo. She has since graduated and just passed her boards.

"Amazing. Words can't explain the feeling actually," said Shaffer.

"I think every time I've seen her since, she's been smiling," said Huff.

Shaffer is still working at Gravy's Diner while she looks for a respiratory therapy job in the area.

She hopes her story can inspire someone else.

"If somebody can believe in you and you can believe in yourself, the possibilities are endless," said Shaffer.

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