When Daniel Golden was a fifth grader, his teacher, Angela Abbott, wrote him a letter praising how much he had progressed as a student and his kind and cooperative nature.

“If you ever need anything, I will always be here for you, Daniel,” wrote Abbott before placing it in a scrapbook that she carefully created for each of her students. That was May 18, 2004.

It eventually wound up in a plastic tote, stored in his parents’ garage, while Golden went on to graduate from high school and begin work on a degree in computer science.

On April 27, 2014, it was picked up by a tornado along with many other belongings and discarded on the street.

Golden eventually found it, and last fall brought it to Abbott in the College of Education. She’s a faculty member there now after spending 20 years in the Baxter Springs, Kansas, school district.

Her focus: training the next generation of teachers. Those include Golden, a senior education major who is set to graduate in May. Abbott was his inspiration.

“She was fantastic,” Golden said. “Everything we did was always hands-on. Everything we did stood out. She still ranks as my favorite teacher.”

Golden decided during his pursuit of a degree in computer science that it just wasn’t the right career for him.

“I thought back to people who really impacted my life, thought back to them and what they did, and I decided I wanted to make a difference like them,” said Golden, who transferred to PSU and found himself once again in Abbott’s class.

“I was excited,” he said. “And now, I am able to see everything we did in fifth grade from the opposite perspective — from the perspective of a teacher instead of a student. I love that she’s teaching from her experiences.”

Few things have been more rewarding, Abbott said, than seeing him reach the point of student teaching last semester.

Abbott, who herself received inspiration to become a great teacher from Dr. Alice Sagehorn and other faculty in the College of Education as a student in the early 1990s, is a three-time published author in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and owns a consulting company.

She holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from PSU in elementary education and psychology, and a master’s degree in education.