July 14, 2004: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Return to our Country of Service - Philippines: Gwinnett Daily Post: Forty years and half a world away, Farrar Atkinson was reunited recently with the Filipino students she inspired while serving in the Peace Corps in the 1960s

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Philippines: Peace Corps Philippines: The Peace Corps in the Philippines: July 14, 2004: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Return to our Country of Service - Philippines: Gwinnett Daily Post: Forty years and half a world away, Farrar Atkinson was reunited recently with the Filipino students she inspired while serving in the Peace Corps in the 1960s

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-22-73.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.22.73) on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 4:40 pm: Edit Post

Forty years and half a world away, Farrar Atkinson was reunited recently with the Filipino students she inspired while serving in the Peace Corps in the 1960s

Forty years and half a world away, Farrar Atkinson was reunited recently with the Filipino students she inspired while serving in the Peace Corps in the 1960s

Forty years and half a world away, Farrar Atkinson was reunited recently with the Filipino students she inspired while serving in the Peace Corps in the 1960s

After 40 years, a local woman is reunited with her Filipino students

By Camie Young

camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com

Caption: Mila Binstock, left, looks at photos from the class of 1964 with her teacher Farrar Atkinson, right. Binstock was the valedictorian of her class. Gwinnett Daily Post/Craig Moore


LAWRENCEVILLE - Her service lasted two years, but the friendships have gone on for decades.

Forty years and half a world away, Farrar Atkinson was reunited recently with the Filipino students she inspired while serving in the Peace Corps in the 1960s.

A few weeks ago, the Lawrenceville woman and some of her students, who now live in Lawrenceville and Winder, returned to the Philippines, for a 40-year reunion.

"It is hard to believe so much time has passed," Mila Binstock said with a laugh. "Look at my gray hairs coming out."

Binstock, who came to Lawrenceville four decades ago as Mila Lasala for a scholarship to Mercer University, looked through old and new photographs with her former classmate and current sister-in-law Felicidad Lasala during a dinner party at Atkinsonís.

The three women have married, changed careers, raised children and now grandchildren and moved all around the country, but now Atkinson and Binstock are back in Lawrenceville and Lasala lives in Winder.

All of them point to Manila as the point where their lives took shape.

Binstock and Lasala and several of their classmates say they owe it all to Atkinson.

"She really made a great impact on our lives," said Lasala, an English to speakers of other languages teacher at Lilburn Middle School. "We were inspired. Thatís what made me become a teacher."

Forty years ago, Farrar Atkinson, a 25-year-old single woman who wanted to be a missionary, joined the Peace Corps. She traveled halfway around the world, alone and nervous, to become a biology teacher at a Manila high school.

But Atkinson didnít feel lonely for long.

The Georgian began an art club for some of the gifted students in the school, and that club is still alive today, with a few key members congregating regularly in Atkinsonís Lawrenceville home.

"Nobody can make you feel more wanted, more needed, more accepted than a Filipino," Atkinson said, showing off the dozens of gifts she received during her service in the 1960s and on five trips since then.

"I was overwhelmed by their generosity."

But Binstock and Lasala say Atkinson was just as generous to them.

She helped Binstock, the schoolís valedictorian, receive a scholarship to America and sent money to Lasala so she could finish school.

"Itís a time in our lives we canít forget," Atkinson said of how the friendships lasted four decades.

At the reunion in Manila, the classmates presented their teacher with a crystal lotus blossom to thank her for holding them together all those years.

"Sometimes we canít believe how strong the bond is," Lasala said.


Gwinnett Daily Post/Craig Moore

Farrar Atkinson of Lawrenceville was presented a crystal Lotus Blossom from the class of 1964 that she taught in the Philippines while working with the Peace Corps. Her students told her she was the center of them and helped keep them together.




Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Gwinnett Daily Post

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Philippines; Return to our Country of Service - Philippines

PCOL12314
04

.


Add a Message


This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Username:  
Password:
E-mail: