He Graded in Green: A Tribute to the Life of Chance Pate


July 1, 2012 by CassieCravings

It was the first thing I ever noticed about him. In fact, I had yet to meet him.

My mother and I poured over school supply lists, planning a strategic attack plan on all stores that carry school supplies.

“Green grading pens,” I mused, “Mom. Grading pens aren’t green.”

“They are when you’re color blind.”

He graded in green. Color blind or not, that was so Chance.

There was something about the way he walked into a classroom. The way that he stood over his desk, bursting with energy for the class to begin. He grinned as the bell would ring and kids would file in. It was as if he had a secret that he couldn’t wait to share.

Kids that didn’t love Language Arts before were racing to class. They were cracking books for fun. They were enjoying the writing process. He had a knack for getting those around him to ask why. He was passionate about learning, always curious. He had a way of inspiring his students to be passionate and curious.

There was a mantra for his high school Language Arts classroom: Never stop asking, “Why?”.

Chance’s love for learning was contagious, as was his love of life and his love for the Lord.

Chance had a great laugh.

Seven years ago Chance Pate was taken from us. He was on his way to teach summer school. He never made it to the school house.

It didn’t make sense.

It still doesn’t.

Losing Chance shook our world. As cliche as it may be, he was one of the good ones.


It’s hard to image that this world has gone 7 years without you.

Your spirit is unmatched by anyone I have ever met. I crave your heart for learning. I envy how you knew exactly what each student needed to extract his/her fullest potential. I admire how you expressed such a love for life.

The moment I got my first teaching job, I thought of you. I prayed that I would be a teacher like you, one who captures students’ minds and hearts. One of my first purchases at the teacher supply store was a big bag of green pens.

5 years later, I still encourage my students to ask “why?” to stay curious. I grade in green every chance I get.

Who you are has touched more people that we can count. Your students still live by your words. Teachers continue to be inspired by you and now bring your spirit to a new generation of students.

It has been 7 years without you; your life continues to bless this world.

We miss you.


8 thoughts on “He Graded in Green: A Tribute to the Life of Chance Pate

  1. I have nominated you for The Commentator Award. Go here to see your nomination: http://futureflyingsaucers.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/the-commentator-award/

  2. What a beautiful tribute! It is amazing the impact some teachers can have on us. It would be difficult to find someone that doesn’t remember that “one” teacher.

  3. thriftymommagogo says:

    This is a lovely tribute. He sounds remarkable.


  4. Ellen says:

    I don’t know if you will read this since this post is a few years old but I wanted to say thank you. I was Chance’s wife. For some reason I googled his name today and your post popped up. I often wonder if people still think of him as often as I do and if he had a long term impact on his students. I am now a teacher also, something I never in a million years thought would happen. I grade in green, purple, pink… Thank you for your post.

    • mamacravings says:

      Ellen!! I’m so glad to see your post! I only got meet you once (shortly after y’all were married and just for a moment). I know his students absolutely think of him often. My family speaks of him often. It was an absolute honor to know him. He influenced me greatly as a teacher. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. It means the world to me ❤

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