This is an opinion column. 

Earlier this month, I was cleaning out cabinets and closets at my late parents’ home when I came across a small trophy I received as a high school junior.

The trophy’s inscription reads:

Crossville High School

Creative Arts 1982-83


I’m now displaying it on a shelf in my office at The Reporter as a reminder of the beautiful Christian woman named Donnie Colvin who gave it to me and encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a journalist.

Mrs. Colvin went home to be with the Lord on Nov. 9 after a battle with cancer. I’m thankful death can’t diminish the legacy she leaves behind in her family, friends and the countless number of students she touched during her teaching career.

I don’t believe Mrs. Colvin ever had a bad day. If she did, her students never knew it. Her smile and laughter warmed your heart and created a classroom environment conducive to learning. Count me among the students who couldn’t wait for her English class to start every day.

“She loved everybody with the love of Jesus,” Terry Allen said. “I don’t think I ever heard her raise her voice to anyone.”

Terry’s my first cousin, and he shared with me how Mrs. Colvin sat down with him during his senior year and helped him make a plan to achieve his goal of becoming a history teacher. Terry became a teacher, coach and administrator. He currently serves as principal of Brindlee Mountain Primary School.

“I might not be where I am today without Mrs. Colvin,” Terry said.

Michelle Gary Norwood is a friend and a special education teacher in the Crossville schools. She’s a classmate of Mrs. Colvin’s daughter, Carla Luther. Carla followed in her mother’s footsteps and became an English teacher at CHS.

Michelle posted a moving tribute to Mrs. Colvin on Facebook, and I wanted to share this portion: “She’s educated doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, teachers, factory workers, housewives, construction workers, supervisors, principals, scientists, engineers and more. She gave countless students the foundation they needed for success, and THIS is the reason Mrs. Donnie Sue Colvin will never really be gone.”

Some of the lyrics of the Crossville High School alma mater are, “All hail to dear old Crossville, and to all her happy memories.” I’m blessed that so many of my happy memories of CHS include Donnie Colvin.

I know Mrs. Colvin loved me and all her students, and we loved her too.        

Shannon J. Allen is publisher/editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at

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