Terri King Speaks

Performing on the Stage of Life

by on May.08, 2010, under Honoring Southern Appalachian Women

The May 2010 Southern Appalachian Woman is Pat Whitson.

Me and Pat Whitson

From the moment I met Pat 4 years ago, she’s had a lasting impression on me.  I thought wow…this woman’s got style, class, and a magnetic energy.  I want that too!

She was born and raised in the Brush Creek Community of the Green Mountain area of Yancey County, NC.  After graduating from Mars Hill College, she taught interior design at Mountain Heritage High School in Burnsville, NC for over 3 decades.  She was famous for being loved by her students and the high heels she wore every day.

When I asked Pat why she chose teaching, she replied in her classic animated style, “I was supposed to be an actress.  But since I couldn’t get to California, I got on stage every day and gave my students my best performance.”

And that was followed by a great story about the time she sang a Patsy Kline song at the world famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville, TN, much to the surprise of her girlfriends who were there with her.

Clearly, she lives by her philosophy of, “Don’t let life pass you by.  Have a zest for it.”

Pat will also tell you, nothing’s perfect in life.  Much to her disappointment, she was never able to have children of her own.  So, she gave her time and talents to more than 9,000 students over a 31-year career.

I believe a successful life includes the pursuit of our best selves.  While in that pursuit, it’s women like Pat Whitson that show us the beauty of loving life, giving to others, and …oh, yeah, great style!

Terri King

3 Comments for this entry

  • Wayne Higgins

    This is great. I know Pat and she is a wonderful person and always caring for and doing things for others. She and I attend church together. There is never a dull moment when you are around/with Pat. She always makes things exciting and interesting. I know that she loved teaching and making a difference the lives of many students. She is a great person.


  • April Knight

    Pat is my cousin and she has been such an influence in my life. I truely strive to be as much like her as I possibly can because only Pat can be Pat, she is definitely one of a kind. Pat I love you and am so glad you are being recognized for the wonderful,dedicated,influential… etc. etc. person that you are.


  • Cathy Wanamaker

    Pat sparkles and shines in everything she does! I also attend church with her and I am proud to call her my friend. She is a true giver in every way. She is also a wonderful cook and has a beautiful voice. We are lucky to have her in our church choir. Like I say–she is just a gem that sparkles and shines brightly. I can only imagine what a wonderful teacher she is because of her ability to care and comfort people.

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