She’s known as Miss Less to all who love her and there were many people at this weekend’s alumni events who remembered Miss Less with fondness and a twinkle in their eye.
Doris Lessenden was named Miss EHS by the Eads Alumni Association at their culminating alumni event on Saturday night out on Maine Street in Eads. Miss Less, as she is known and loved by her former students said, “I was quite surprised by this recognition and am humbled by the kindness everyone has shown me.”
Well, if anyone needs shown upmost respect and kindness it is Miss Less who has suffered with polio since she was a young girl but who has learned to overcome trials and tribulations in her life by leaning on her strong religious faith. She is a woman of conviction of faith—faith in her Father in Heaven; conviction of love—love in her family and hundreds of students and friends she has touched through the years; and conviction of hope—hope that her beloved community will continue to prosper in a morally kind and prosperous way.
Doris Lessenden was an educator at Eads High School for 33 years and then subbed and taught other classes for 10 more years. She is best-known as the Home Economics teacher and student counselor by the dozens of former students who were back in town this past weekend. Miss Less was the one person they made sure they caught up with while here.
In addition to her work as an educator, Doris Lessenden has written a column for the local newspapers for many years. Her mother, Ida, began writing news of the town when they still lived out in the country. During those years, Doris would edit that column and do some of the writing, as well. When Ida began to get up in age and moved to the nursing home, Doris took the column over in 2002 and for 20 years this dedicated community servant of God has never missed a deadline or a week of news from around the town. The Kiowa County Independent dubbed her folksy column, “Day-to-Day with Doris” as she never misses an opportunity to highlight someone or something good going on around town. Many readers tell us Doris’ column is still a favorite of theirs.
Doris has also been very active in the Eads Chamber of Commerce, the Eads Senior Citizen’s Center, the Kit Carson Lutheran Church, the Hospital Auxillary Committee and never misses an opportunity to have coffee with Prairie Pines or Eads Nursing Home residents.
She is also still quite involved in the school and hopeful for another generation of Eads students who are growing toward adulthood under the common-sense leadership of the administration and teachers in our small school. Just today, Miss Less was up at the school supporting a VFW presentation to the Eads K-12 students by the local VFW concerning the September 11th observance and how to honor our most cherished flag of the United States.
If one did not know Doris, you would think the woman was a spry 50 years old and able to move in and out of the community venues with ease. But, in reality, every day is hard for Doris as she is wheelchair bound and limited in her mobility. But, she bravely lives alone, drives her own vehicle and manages come rain, shine or wind to SHOW UP at the community events knowing this is where the heart keeps beating for not only families, but communities and the future of this country.
Through her actions, Doris Lessenden teaches us all what is important in life. And that’s why her former students, now many getting up there in age, love her more each and every year that rolls around.
On Saturday, Doris was surrounded by her sister, brothers, sister-in-law and nieces and nephew as she was honored by the Eads Alumni Committee as Miss EHS. A beautiful tierra was placed upon her greying, but well-kept head as former student Sylvia (Blooding) Weeks (Class of 1970) read this message from former student from the Class of 1970, Kelly Lujan, who was there in spirit. Lujan wrote:
Dearest Miss Less,
Thank you for living a life, full of possibilities not barriers, optimism not defeat, wonder not disappointment. Thank you for looking beyond yourself and focusing on others, guiding by example. Your joy in the success and loving support of struggle faced by all those around you has been commonplace in your life… unappreciated sometimes … until life reveals the value of your tender loving gifts.
Miss Less, you have shown that, through faith, the meek become the mighty. You are my hero and I’ll never understand how you have faced life with such grit, love, determination and humility.
You are amazing!
Yes, anyone named Miss EHS has to be amazing, and it is right and fitting that Miss Less was to be the first recipient of this important recognition.