By EKATERINE TCHELIDZE
Chronicle Staff Writer
LEBANON â€” Coming to a new school is a nerve-wracking experience for most children, but for Emily Glazier, 14, it was particularly terrifying.
As a teen who identifies as queer and prefers to use â€śthey/them/theirsâ€ť pronouns, Glazier was concerned whether the new environment would be accepting enough.
Little did Glazier know she would find a friend, supporter and mentor in teacher, Kevin Brodie, who was honored recently for his support and acceptance of such students.
Brodie teaches history, civics and philosophy at Lyman Memorial High School in Lebanon.
Glazier met Brodie on the first day of school and instantly felt connected to him, she said.
His friendly and open-hearted personality invited Glazier to open up to him.
â€śI felt very comfortable coming out as LGBTQ to him, which is pretty unusual for me because I really donâ€™t tell teachers,â€ť Glazier said. â€śBut I felt very confident telling him. Heâ€™s been very supportive with everything that Iâ€™m going through personally.â€ť
Glazier shared the experience in a personal blog.
â€śI walked into my first civics class,â€ť Glazier wrote. â€śImmediately, his room intrigued me. I saw several safe space stickers around the room and, as an LGBTQ student, I was relieved.â€ť
Glazier wrote how she told Brodie about her struggles and experiences and how supportive he was from the start.
Then, Glazier and her best friend, Isabel Link, 15, learned about the Kindness Award, sponsored by â€śIt Gets Betterâ€ť project. They nominated Brodie.
Founded in 2010, â€śIt Gets Betterâ€ť is a project that supports LGBTQ youth.
Glazier wrote an essay explaining why Brodie should be nominated.
â€śI nominate my incredible teacher, Mr. Kevin Brodie, for this Kindness Award for many reasons,â€ť the essay reads. â€śHe has not only been impactful to myself, but to the entire Lyman Memorial High School community. Heâ€™s done a tremendous amount of things to make the school community a safer, happier, accepting community. He has welcomed LGBTQ students into his heart with open arms, extraordinarily accepting to all students.â€ť
Link said Brodie deserves the award because â€śhe is a really nice and accepting person.â€ť
â€śWe found that we can really open up to him and he is very easy to talk to, so we felt like heâ€™s been doing so much for us recently and it was time we did something for him,â€ť Link said during the ceremony honoring Brodie last week.
Brodie won the award, but he didnâ€™t know of it until the day before it was awarded Nov. 22.
â€śIt was a surprise for sure,â€ť Brodie said before the ceremony. â€śI had no idea that students were doing this. I wasnâ€™t really aware of this award, so to discover they had done this for me and that I won, and this would be happening on my 50th birthday on top of that, itâ€™s all a bit much. But itâ€™s a good bit much.â€ť
Prior to the ceremony, they gave out hundreds of Parkinsonâ€™s disease awareness pins and necklaces to the school community in support of Brodie, who battles the disease every day.
Brodie, who has been teaching at Lyman for 21 years, said â€śsometimes students just seek you out.â€ť
â€śSometimes they just want someone to listen, someone to take them seriously,â€ť Brodie said. â€śAnd for whatever reason, these kids decided that I was that person. So you just listen and let them know they are not alone and thereâ€™s someone who cares about them.â€ť
Brodie said heâ€™s always tried to cultivate trust and support in the classroom.
â€śEvery day teachers have an opportunity to make an impact on the lives of their students, not just academically, but also helping them through the issues that all kids go through as they mature into adults,â€ť Lebanon Superintendent of Schools Robert Angeli said at the ceremony. â€śMr. Brodie has certainly made a positive impact in the lives of these two students and many more students over the course of his career.â€ť
Lyman Principal James Apicelli said, during the Thanksgiving season, itâ€™s important to recognize and thank those who have made a difference, especially in the light of all the negativity going on in the world.