Armistead Cole Sandlin, a teacher in Richmond County for 23 years, never let her pupils think they had limited potential.
In her third-grade classes, she held a funeral for the word "can't," according to a parent of one of her pupils.
Mrs. Sandlin, 61, died Wednesday at home in Augusta.
Deltrye Holt said Mrs. Sandlin took her son and other pupils outside to the schoolyard and told them to bury whatever they believed they could not do.
"This ceremony was so important to Mrs. Sandlin and the children that she invited the parents to attend," she said. "I will always remember the look of accomplishment on the faces of the children. They seemed to know that Mrs. Sandlin wanted and expected them to succeed."
Mrs. Sandlin, who went by the nickname Army, taught at C.T. Walker Magnet School and Windsor Spring Elementary School. She retired at the end of the 2004-05 school year.
On the day she died, C.T. Walker held a moment of silence in her honor, said her son, Stuart Sandlin.
"Although I am certainly biased, my mother touched many, many lives over her 20-year teaching career," he said. "Any school, such as C.T. Walker did yesterday, that holds a moment of silence in respect for a former teacher demonstrates the impact she had on the students, parents, and teachers."
Among her awards were Who's who Among America's Teachers, the Time to Care Award and the Teacher of the Year Award.
Mrs. Sandlin also was a member of the vestry and taught Sunday school at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Augusta.
A memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. today at the Church of the Good Shepherd. The family will receive friends in the parish hall afterward.
Memorial contributions can be made to Breast Health Center, University Foundation, c/o Pam Anderson, 818 St. Sebastian Way, Suite 205, Augusta, GA 30901.
Reach Justin Boron at (706) 823-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.