Seeds for the soul

Published 8:45 am Wednesday, March 19, 2008

By Staff
A Southern Normal School alumnus has used her Christian educational background to author and publish a personal, spiritual poetry collection called “Battle of the Soul,” a title that has early connections with her younger days as a Teens for Christ sponsor while teaching in Escambia County, Fla.
Mary Alice Thomas of Brewton said that she is “writing from the heart and not from the head” and added that she took the seeds that were planted in her life at Southern Normal and transplanted them when she ended up at Stillman College, where she earned her undergraduate degree.
In her Bible classes at Stillman, these seeds grew into small plants, she said. She eventually found her calling in the teaching profession.
Florida's Escambia County School District opened the doors for her to becme an educator, creating an opportunity for Thomas to combine her spiritual training with her love for writing.
Escambia County offered this to her until she retired 35 years later after teaching both English and social studies. Thomas began teaching at Ernest Ward then transferred to Century, where she remained for 22 years.
Thomas retired from Northview High School in 2004 and followed that year with a year on the West coast, where her daughter and grandchildren resided at that time.
After a year out of the classroom, Thomas found herself restless and missing the faces of young people, so in 2005 she returned to the same district.
She is presently employed at Carver-Century.
When asked why she wanted to come out of retirement, Thomas said, “My love for teaching, trying to change lives, trying to encourage the broken-hearted, trying to get students ready for learning and trying to massage the brain, to change the mind and heart and the directions of the innocent.”
Thomas said her greatest fulfillment comes when she learns of the success of one of her former students.
Thomas said her favorite success was the day she started working with a group of young people who would sacrifice their early morning peer social time for Bible study and pray before school.
She ended up sponsoring this group, called Teens for Christ, for 24 years.
Thomas said her commitment to that group and those students stemmed from the fact that “the battle of the soul is in a changing society.”
From that comment comes the title of her book, “Battle of the Soul.”
Thomas said she believes that teaching is a ministry that one must be called into, rather than a choice one makes just to have a job.
Thomas currently has a religious-based drama and other various poetry collections that are awaiting publication.
To order a copy of her religious poems, write to Mary Alice Thomas, P.O. Box 163, Brewton, AL 36427. All books are $10 each.