After 32 years, she’s ‘at home’

Published 12:18 am Thursday, August 9, 2018

Straughn Middle School’s newest special education teacher, Sonia Wallace, said that there are only two words that describe her move to SMS: “coming home. “

Sonia Wallace

Wallace is a 1986 graduate of Straughn High School, where she was a majorette, a cheerleader and on the homecoming court.

“I am beyond excited to be coming home,” Wallace said.

After graduating from Straughn, she went on to graduate from LBW Community College and then earned her bachelor’s degree from Troy State University.

Wallace knew that she wanted to be a teacher in the second grade, but did not know that she wanted to be a special education teacher until she was in middle school.

“Mrs. Joann Kirk was instrumental in my becoming a special education teacher,” Wallace said. “She really inspired me. She showed such compassion with the kids and included them in everything, so by the time I was in seventh or eighth grade I knew that I wanted to do that for the rest of my life.”

Wallace’s career began at C.A.P.E for two years, then in Geneva County for two years. She then spent 13 years in the Andalusia City School system.

Wallace said that she is looking forward to teaching more than just basic educational skills.

“I am looking forward to being able to teach basic necessary life skills,” Wallace said. “Sears in Andalusia has donated a washing machine and dryer, so we will be able to teach the students how to do their own laundry. I hope to teach them several skills like how to cook, clean and things like that because it is important.”

Wallace’s main goal for this year is to make sure her kids are successful in life.

“I want to know their interests,” Wallace said. “I want to make learning fun for them and most importantly, make a lasting, positive impression in their lives.”

Wallace said that the biggest challenge this year will be getting her mindset on the county school’s way of doing things.

“I have been at Andalusia for the past 13 years,” Wallace said. “And I know that Andalusia and Straughn have a different way of doing things. So hopefully I will use what I know, just in a different area.”

Wallace said that she will miss the group of students that she had in Andalusia.

“Most of the students stay till they are 21,” Wallace said. “They were always with me during all times of the day and we had a bond that I will really miss, but I hope to establish that here at Straughn.”

Outside of the classroom, Wallace is an avid Nascar fan.

“My mom and dad were both racers,” Wallace said. “So I introduced it to my children and they all used to race. I always spend my time at local racetracks in Pensacola or Kinston.”

Wallace has been married to Jeff Wallace for 32 years and they have three children, Karley Belle, Branston and Zak.