MARY MEAUX — Port Arthur educator Patrina Gallow inspires by example
Published 12:05 am Thursday, October 27, 2022
Sometimes there are people that, when you meet them, you get caught up in their positive energy.
Just being in their presence is a mood booster and enough to make you feel nothing is impossible.
So, when it’s an educator giving off these vibes, you just know the students in his or her care are being guided toward success.
I felt that when I sat down recently with Patrina Gallow at Lincoln Middle School. Quick to smile, Gallow welcomed me in her classroom during a break. The room mirrored her jovial nature with polka dots and ladybugs done in school colors of red and black.
Right as you enter the room are motivational signs — “you are capable of more than you know,” “you could make a wish or make it happen,” “a positive attitude will lead to positive outcomes” and “there is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”
And it seems like destiny the school theme is one she teaches and lives up to — “Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.”
She’s been doing that since birth.
“When I was born the doctors immediately took me out of the room because they didn’t know how my parents were going to handle me being born like this,” Gallow said. “Of course back then we didn’t have the technology to know your child was going to be born with deformities. I was born, my parents loved me and said they could deal with it.”
The birth defect, she said, is called Holt-Oram Syndrome. It affected her arms but that doesn’t stop her from doing anything others can do except pull her hair back. She tells her students how some women worry about makeup and things of that nature in order to be seen. She doesn’t have a choice due to her birth defect, people will see her anyway.
The Port Arthur native is working with dyslexic students this school year and works with youth in the Minnie Rogers Juvenile Justice Center after school. She has also worked with adults with disabilities, teaching them how to find jobs.
“I let them know that they too can get jobs no matter the situation,” she said. “I try to lead them by example, that we have no excuses, we don’t have to accept the ‘no’s’ that people tell us. We can say ‘yes’ because it’s all about what we want for us because this is our life.”
When working with students she talks about her disability up front at the beginning. She finds this helpful for them, as she knows they have questions. But once that’s over, it’s not even a topic anymore.
Gallow comes from a family that pushed her to be independent, and her parents treated her the same as they did her older sister.
“My mom has been a great encourager and my daddy. They said whatever you can do, do it with all your might,” she said.
I’m glad she’s in a position as an educator to push others to their limits and to success.
And I’m glad I got the chance to meet this woman who’s making a positive difference in the lives of others.
Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.