Laurie Liming was a teacher in Berkeley Heights for the past twenty one years. An accomplished educator, twice named "Teacher of the Year" for her district, recipient of various grants from the Berkeley Heights Education Foundation, and lauded with many honors in her field, is no stranger to success. Her road towards achievement, as most roads, required hard work and dedication, turns, detours, and navigation of the occasional rough patches. She often reminded her students to find the silver lining in challenging situations, as there always is something good hidden within a tough experience.
In 2015, her road took a drastic turn, when Laurie was diagnosed with Stage 3C breast cancer that had metastasized. During a grueling two year journey, Laurie tried to focus on the positives while navigating the toughest journey of her life. The love of her family and strength of her community, along with unexpected kindnesses from strangers, carried her through over a dozen surgeries and month after month of multiple treatments. Her former students made bracelets that read,“Find the Silver Liming...we love you Ms. Liming.” The Silver Liming Foundation concept was born from that simple, yet powerful, gesture. As her recovery became more of a reality, Laurie slowly began assembling informal get-togethers in her home, discussing the plights of others who had reached out to share words of encouragement with her amidst their own problems. Eventually, monthly meetings evolved into a non-profit group serving the needs of local community members, paying kindness forward - one gesture at a time.
As a teacher, Laurie often referenced the starfish parable, about a boy who tried to save every starfish he could one day while walking along the beach. When the boy was reminded by a local man that there were miles upon miles of beach, and that what he was doing might not make a difference, the boy replied, gently throwing another starfish into the water, "It made a difference to that one." That lesson became the most important one Ms. Liming has ever taught. She now has learned it, and is living it for herself.