We all have that one person who makes us who we are and help to guide us to our careers. Helen McNeil a 90-year-old resident at Brightmore dedicated her life to be a teacher due to this one person. Helen lost her mother when she was nine years old and moved from North Carolina to Mississippi to live with her aunt and uncle. Helen states that her aunt was the reason she became a teacher. Helen’s aunt was a basketball coach for a local school and was the first white women to work in a black school in Mississippi. After Helen watched her aunt educate children and inspire those around her, she went to follow in her footsteps. Helen started her teaching career as a teacher for a Presbyterian church in North Carolina. She was a teacher in the church for 10 years before deciding to go back to school. While Helen went back to get her teaching license, she was also juggling having a family while attending classes.
Helen got her teaching license at Queens University before moving back to Fayetteville to work in the Fort Bragg School system. Helen was a substitute teacher to start her new career before becoming a teaching assistant. While Helen was a teaching assistant, she helped with 1st and 3rd grade students and loved teaching them English and music when she could. Helen put in 23 years to the Fort Bragg School system before she was honored with her Distinguished Service to that community. Helen spent 40 years educating children from public schools to church education. Helen still loves to teach and has been seen teaching residents how to knit when asked.