A Short Story by Hersh:
Small words of encouragement from teachers can often have dramatic effects on young minds. In Miss Peters class there was a segregation of the smart students from the slow: the smart students were to be kept away from the laggards lest they bring the smart students down. Hence the laggards had a special lane in her class called the “Donkey Lane,” of which young Sonny was the “head donkey”. When Sonny graduated to the next grade, his new class teacher was the warm and sincere Mrs. Ryan, the complete opposite of Miss Peters. A word of encouragement from Mrs. Ryan on his essay restored Sonny’s shattered confidence and makes him want to become a writer when he grew up.