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Dear Dr. Horton – my UNFUCD thank you letter to a teacher

(EDITORIAL) In a world that seems to be too focused on the negative, violent, sad things in life, the UNFUCD movement couldn’t come at a better time.

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Getting UNFUCD

Lately, I’ve been shying away from my Facebook Newsfeed because there is simply too much violence, too much hate, and too much political opposition to navigate. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that I care too much and it’s hard to bleed for the world daily, but I do. I need to limit my exposure. So, when I came across this assignment, I knew it was the answer I needed. A new movement if you will, one dubbed: UNFUCD.

UNFUCD, you say?

What is UNFUCD? Much like the Pay It Forward movement, UNFUCD aims to “create happiness one day at a time.” Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive. Create positivity by sharing things to highlight the good in the world, instead of the bad. There is also an UNFUCD community sharing goals and projects you can complete in your own neighborhoods to help foster that same sense of “let’s make things less f—ed up, and more connected, more positive, more neighborly.” You can read more about the UNFUCD project here.

One of these UNFUCD projects, or missions is to write a letter to someone who has encouraged you, more specifically; we want to focus on teachers that have made a difference. As our legions of young people trudge back to school, we can’t forget the teachers who are shaping our young minds. I encourage you to follow the UNFUCD movement and thank someone who’s made a difference in your life. Here’s mine:

Dear Dr. Horton,

I’m not sure where to start this letter. Just thinking of you, makes me smile and tear up. You see, when I enrolled in your class at the University of Oklahoma, I was beaten down. I was terrified. I felt like I wasn’t any good as a human being, as a student, and especially as an academic writer.

I had a bad experience with another professor at another institution who told me I didn’t belong in the program and I essentially (in his eyes) wasn’t smart enough to finish. Even though I was a straight A student, I believed that professor. I believed him so much, I dropped out of the college. I was a little lost soul for a while. I’d given up on my dream because someone told me I wasn’t good enough. After a month or two, I decided to look into other options, and found the MA program at OU. I found you. I found your class. I found my salvation.

You fueled my passion, you believed in me

You took me in. You embraced my passion for film. You showed me your passion for film, which in turn, fueled my passion for film further. You believed in my academic goals. You believed in my writing. You believed in me and you made me believe in myself for the first time in a long time. You pushed me to attend conferences, to submit my work to publications, to believe what we were working on together had value and that I was indeed in the right place. I was smart enough. You were not just a professor, you were a mentor. You saved my dreams. You helped me become the writer I am today. Without your support, I would’ve given up again.

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Every time I came to your office, I was met with pure warmth, acceptance, and a smile. I always felt like my opinions were valued and respected. You: an author, a screenwriter, and my professor and for someone so highly regarded to find worth in my work gave me hope that I could finish what I wanted to do: a Master’s degree in film and literature.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you, thank God for putting your warm, gentle, compassionate spirit on this Earth, and fervently wish that I could tell you how much you’ve meant to me without sounding like a total sentimental fool. My spirit was damaged when I started my new path, but I was healed because you took the time to be more than a professor. I’ll never be able to thank you enough for everything you did for me.

You are the reason I finished my degree

I still have your books on my shelf. I reread them now and again and smile. I can feel your passion for film through the words on the page. I remember everything you told me about film, about theory, about research, and about telling the story. You are the reason I finished my degree. You are the reason I still love to write. You are the reason I am an academic scholar.

You are the reason I believed in myself again and you are the reason the teaching profession should be admired and respected. You changed my life and I thank you, from the bottom of my (now healed) heart, thank you. I will always pray that every student finds someone to be their Dr. Horton, because Lord knows, the world needs more souls like yours.


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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.



  1. Danny Brown

    August 15, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Hi there Jennifer,

    Thanks so much for this letter, and supporting our goals over at UNFUCD. Dr Horton sounds like a wonderful teacher, and I can only imagine how many kids he’s been such a wise man for.

    Here’s to him, and you for recognizing him.

  2. Pingback: Dear Dr. Baldwin - my thank you letter to a teacher as part of the UNFUCD movement - The American Genius

  3. Pingback: An inspiring thank you letter all women in tech should read - The American Genius

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