Life without Mrs. Bellar Won’t Be Same, but We Must Honor Her

As Assistant Editors of the JHS Drumbeat (class of 2003) and lifelong friends of Mrs. D’Anne Bellar, we jointly write this letter to the editor in honor of her loving memory. We cannot imagine a world without Mrs. Bellar and her influence, but here we are.

Both of our lives have been impacted by her.

Both of our career paths were shaped by her.

Both of our individual professional and life goals were inspired by her.

We would not be the same without Mrs. Bellar’s influence. Her tireless work effort, her ability to inspire us and her unwavering support will always be a testament to how she lived her life: thinking of her students first and foremost and others too.

The two of us had recently become best friends when we walked into Mrs. Bellar’s “Intro to Journalism” class our Freshman year at Jacksonville High School back in 1999. We worked hard that year to make an impression on Mrs. Bellar, and we were elated when she chose us to be a part of the writing staff for The Drumbeat. With her guidance and encouragement, we wrote for the school’s paper until we graduated.

Mrs. Bellar was a ray of sunshine at Jacksonville High School.  When the bell rang to go to her class, you were relieved and excited about what you might be up to that day.  On a serious note, it was in Mrs. Bellar’s class, surrounded by teal-colored iMac’s, that a group of stunned East Texas students watched the classroom TV in horror as planes flew into the World Trade Center. Mrs. Bellar was afraid it was an act of terrorism. She was right. And our lives changed forever.  Journalism and politics changed forever that day too.

Decades after her journalism class, we’re still using the skills she so passionately taught: Casey, is still a journalist. The anchor of Good Day Austin Weekends at Fox 7 Austin. Allan, works for the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, instilling the passion of education and literacy into future generations, pursuing public service as she would have wanted, and working for a Presidential Family.  We’re both married to wonderful women with kids on the way. She told us frequently: “I’m proud of you, and I love you.”

Her impact on countless students…is immeasurable.  Her light will forever shine in our hearts and to others, never dim, just bright. Until we meet again: Thank You Mrs. Bellar! We love you.

Allan R. Marshall, M.Ed.

Chief Development Officer, Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation

Houston, Texas

Casey D. Claiborne

Anchor, Good Day Austin Weekends, Fox 7 Austin

Austin, Texas

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