Congratulations to Mrs. Pam Richardson, the inaugural recipient of the Profile in Courage award


Rights Reserved-Hillsboro Globe; Associated Press Susan Strasinger

Nashville, TN, on March 29th Mrs. Richardson is presented with flowers on behalf of Coach Fitzgerald and the football team.

 Editor’s Note: In 2020, the Hillsboro Globe staff voted to install an award to be given in the spirit of John F. Kennedy’s Profile in Courage Award.

Like almost all events in 2020, the pandemic put everything on hold. This year, the inaugural year of the award, the Hillsboro Globe is pleased to present our first recipient of the award, Mrs. Pam Richardson.

The recipient of this award displays the characteristics of grace, courage and tenacity when faced with life changing adversity. This awardee often places his or herself’s needs over the needs over others and models how one should face adversity with grace. 

Courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have the strength

— Theodore Roosevelt

It would be difficult to pinpoint exactly when our very own Mrs. Richardson became a profile in courage. It might have been when she returned from knee surgery, or when she cared for her failing husband with dignity and grace. However, we can all agree that beating cancer qualifies her for consideration, especially after facing the other hardships.  Mrs. Richardson is Hillsboro’s 2021 profile in courage.

Richardson had been diagnosed with cancer in February of 2021, and was absent up until March 25th of the same year.

Nashville, TN, on March 29th Mrs. Richardson is presented with flowers on behalf of Coach Fitzgerald and the football team. (Rights Reserved-Hillsboro Globe; Associated Press Susan Strasinger )

Upon being asked how she felt about her absence, she responded, “I was so excited when high school students came back to school, but yet I was disappointed that I couldn’t be with those students, coming back until the 4th quarter.  For many seniors, the last four weeks of high school are so important., My students have been great their work by participating in their discussions, and that’s energizing to me, I’m so excited for the seniors because we’ve got some fun things coming for the seniors prior to graduation, and I can’t wait to see all the senior smiles”.

Pamela Richardson has been an English teacher at Hillsboro High School for 30 plus years. She recently was diagnosed with, and has now beaten breast cancer!

Most teachers would give serious consideration to taking a leave of absence or even retiring when faced with adversity, however, Mrs. Richardson, our advisor to seniors would not hear of not completing the year to see her 2021 seniors through to graduation.

Her teaching style is what lures students in with a  casual air to her lessons, but don’t be mislead by her ease, she is serious about her subject matter, she is serious about you learning, and she legitimately tries to help her students navigate one of the tougher years of high school

The students, as well as the colleagues, love and respect Mrs. Richardson.

Upon being asked how they felt about Mrs. Richardson’s absence, Roderick Orr responded with “I feel like Mrs. Richardson deserves more respect than she already has. She’s a loyal teacher, an experienced one at that. She knows how to connect with the various students and teachers, her communication skills and how she can hold a conversation to teach and learn something at once is phenomenal. I feel like as a teacher, who’s going to say Richardson doesn’t know what she’s doing? To me, I don’t think anyone can and if anyone tries to talk down on her, she’s beaten breast cancer and come back, and is beating COVID now. I can’t see her giving up any time soon”. The teachers also love her, with Mr. Trump saying “She is awesome and she will work with you”.

Nashville, TN. Mrs. Pamela Richardson teaching students physically and virtually on April 14th, 2021. Photographer unknown.This experience was not her first fight with breast cancer, but actually her third. All of her battles with cancer had happened within a 19 year time span . In an interview she states that “It was devastating, because I really thought that I had beat it, my first diagnosis was in 2002 and my second diagnosis was in 2016, and to be hit blindsided really, with that news in 2021, really shook me to my core, thoughts of “what if I don’t survive this”.

Luckily, she did survive this third battle with cancer.

She also received news that there were no complications with the procedure, and the cancer hadn’t spread.

When asked about the treatment, she said “I did not find out about the results of the surgery until about a week after the surgery, and of course I was ecstatic, when the surgeon felt like he had gotten all of the cancer, and the pathology report that there was no spread to my lymph nodes, to other organs in my body, I had felt for the first time that I had finally kicked cancers butt”

Nashville, TN. Mrs. Pamela Richardson, a teacher at Hillsboro High School has recently beat breast cancer. Photographer unknown.

Mrs. Slighter, an interpreter in her class, stated “In my years at Hillsboro High School,  I have had the honor of interpreting in Mrs. Richardson class 5 or 6 times.  Her class has always been a favorite of mine because she is not only extremely gifted as an English teacher but gives students in her class a glimpse into their future.   She teaches Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe and Arthur Miller with the same tenacity as she does Trevor Noah or Mitch Albom.  Students learn life lessons from classic literature, current fiction and nonfiction books alike. ” 

Perhaps the greatest gift that Richardson gives her students everyday is the gift of caring. She challenges students to look inward and reflect on life’s choices and where the path those choices can lead them. She challenges them to find their own stregnths and share these stregths with those who are in need. 

Slighter continues to describe her class, “I have always loved watching her conduct her class with passion.  Passion for literature but also passion to teach all students to see a world bigger than just themselves.  She’s an encourager, a mentor, an educator, and a friend to so many here at Hillsboro.  She has rightfully earned the title “Hillsboro Queen”.  Interpreting in her class has impacted my life greatly.  Her class has challenged me personally and that has made me a better educational interpreter”

Mrs. Richardson has indeed shared and impacted hundreds of lives and it we, her students who have benefited from her hardships because she has taught us how to find courage within ourselves. We expect her to continue to impact students for years to come.