VAN BUREN (KFSM)—It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and a local man is showing gratitude for his fifth grade teacher years later. Deon Moton says his teacher Judy Parks not only changed his life, she saved his life.
“I haven't seen Ms. Parks in 18 years, but the impact she had on my life is still relevant today,” Moton said.
Deon didn’t have the easiest upbringing. He was raised in a situation where he wasn’t close with his parents, so he said he was basically left to raise his little brother. In the fifth grade his school closed, so he transferred to King Elementary, where he met Ms. Parks.
“He always had a big smile,” Parks said.
His big smile was hiding a lot of pain and tears.
“I had a very difficult time, some difficult nights, and I was actually expelled in the 5th grade,” he said.
He admits he made some mistakes, but said Ms. Parks always treated him like a human being. He never graduated high school but said his former teacher’s positivity inspired him to get his GED. His success story was just beginning.
“I met the La Huerta family, and we started a restaurant in Fayetteville, Arkansas called Mojitos,” he explained. “Now we have our second one which is Mojitos in Rogers, which I'm now a partner in.”
During the busiest week of the year in the Mexican restaurant industry (Cinco de Mayo), Moton felt obligated to show appreciation for not only Ms. Parks but to every teacher by serving them lunch.
“They gave me a foundation that I was able to build upon in the future,” he said.
When he asked the principal if he could pay his former teacher a visit, Moton had no idea Parks was just named the school’s Teacher of the Year.