CBS2’s Cindy Hsu remembers a Bronx teacher who taught everyone around him to dream big and explore the world.
Sixty-seven-year-old Dr. Noel Lawson was born in Jamaica and came to the U.S. in 1993. Dr. Lawson taught students everything from music to math. He earned a pair of master’s degrees and a doctorate in education.
Dr. Lawson died from complications of COVID-19 on May 4. Hsu spoke with his wife, Rev. Karen Davis-Lawson, who says her husband still graded papers after he got sick.
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The couple met on eharmony 15 years ago when Davis-Lawson was in a seminary and Dr. Lawson taught Sunday school and was a musician at Grace Baptist Church.
The two finally met at the church after months of emailing and talking on the phone.
“After the service, I introduced myself and he just hugged me and I thought ‘Wow, that’s amazing,'” said Rev. Davis-Lawson. “You know it’s the first time that we’re meeting and he’s just so warm and all encompassing and we just talked for hours again.”
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Dr. Lawson also loved his students at Bronx Academy of Health Careers. One of his high school students, Dr. Michelle Pena, said he was like a father and she wouldn’t have gone into medicine if it wasn’t for his words of encouragement and “tough love.”
Dr. Lawson also taught students about life.
“Things like, you know, the importance of voting, being aware of what’s going on in your community, he helped them with interview skills,” Rev. Davis-Lawson said.
He created a travel club at school and organized trips all over the world, taking students to Europe and China.
“He loved to travel, he loved his students, so he put the two things together. And of course I went with him,” Rev. Davis-Lawson said.
One of Dr. Lawson’s greatest skills was connecting with people.
Family, faith and friendship meant everything to Dr. Lawson. He believed everyone should have the opportunity to succeed and he did all he could to help.