East Allen University Language Arts Teacher Shannon Eichenauer will be headed to Colorado in June to work on a book about her courageous journey back to the classroom after a devastating car accident. A grant from the Lilly Endowment’s Teacher Creativity Fellowship program will pay for her trip. The program encourages educators to explore, inquire and grow through personally and professionally meaningful activities.

The title of her program is Healing, Hiking, and Writing: Using nature and writing in Colorado National Parks and Preserves to heal after a traumatic car accident. Eichenaur will spend four weeks with her family and many of the people who helped her along the way. After the crash, doctors didn’t know if she would survive or ever walk again if she did.

In part one of a two-part special report, we focus on her determination to not only survive, but to “climb mountains” as she told her husband she would do when she was in the hospital. Her amazing transformation is credited to the strength, resolve and endurance that she built from the 153 miles she hiked in Indiana State Parks and nature preserves in the two months preceding the accident in commemoration of two students who passed away.

Shannon shares her story to inspire students at EAU and East Allen County Schools that hardships do not have to define them.

Part two of our special report will highlight Shannon’s remarkable return to the classroom and the impact it had on her students, and herself. You’ll see how her favorite phrase “Love Wins” was a guiding force in the process.