Community Resident Stories
If you went to school in this area, Mrs. Knight was probably your reading teacher. Shirley Knight, who has been living in this neighborhood since 1975 and teaching for thirty years, knows all the kids in the community, and their parents. “I’ve even got the grandchildren of one of my old students right now!” she says.
Born to a large family in Dalton, Georgia, Shirley had a simple childhood growing up, she liked to build play houses outside with her 9 brothers and sisters. Her mother inspired her to always help people and told her she could do anything she put her mind to. Shirley put her mind to nursing, and did that until she felt like she couldn’t help anymore. She then started volunteering at the old Blythe Elementary School (now where our office is!) After a few months of doing this, the principle told her that he was going to have to start paying her, and hired her on as a reading teacher.
After thirty years of teaching, Shirley still says that this is her ideal job. “I love helping children learn to read, the light in their eyes when they finally get it, the confidence I can give them when they learn to read. Reading can completely change someone’s life.” And Shirley has certainly changed other’s lives throughout the years, she finds happiness and pleasure in something every day, and can always make the people around her smile. She finds that being rich is not about how much money you have, but how satisfied you are with yourself and your life. She says her goal as a parent and a teacher is “…to help them get a good education and do what makes them happy.” She has two grown children from a 37 year marriage that have gone on to jobs they love with happy, healthy families.
Her favorite thing about this neighborhood is the people. She says when she first moved here “…people looked out for each other. When someone would die, neighbors would pool money to buy flowers. People knew and liked each other.” She hopes that BOCA can help the Blythe-Oldfield neighborhood do that again. “It doesn’t matter what side of town you live on, there will always be problems. But if we all are nice to one another and look out for each other, we can live in a better place.” One of the founders of the Blythe Oldfield Community Association, Shirley’s dream for reuniting neighbors is coming true- the community association now has about thirty members that come regularly, we have great attendance for our community events, and neighbors are really starting to get to know each other. Her passion for helping people and making them smile has been a huge impact on everyone who’s ever met Shirley Knight, and we’re glad to know her.
To meet Shirley or learn more about her, we invite you to attend our community association meetings on the first Thursday of every month at 6:00 PM.