CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If your life's worth was measured by the number of people you helped, Dr. Mary Dore's worth in this world could never be counted.
Dore recognized in the 1970s that some kids faced difficult challenges learning in a traditional classroom. She blazed a trail in North Carolina education by opening a special school right here in Charlotte.
Dr. Dore passed away earlier this month, but her life will live on through her work.
In 1978, Dore opened the Dore Academy, focusing on educating children with learning differences including ADHD and Asperger's.
"She devoted her whole life to this. This was her life. She was an educator at heart, but more than that she loved kids," said Jennifer Nichols, director of advancement at The John Crosland Academy. The name of Dr. Dore's school changed in 2012 when a new site was funded by John Crosland.
But the mission hasn't changed.
Because of ADHD and other learning differences, Mary saw some kids fall right through the gaping cracks of an educational environment that just didn't click.
"She began to really hone in and ask, 'what if we were to identify and what if we knew what those differences were and could teach, not only to the strengths... but the weaknesses? What would happen?'" Nichols said.
After Dr. Dore opened her school in 1978, student achievement began to soar. Children once known as "discipline problems" in traditional schools became star students. Today, the John Crosland School focuses on one-on-one teaching environments, and classrooms where fidgeting isn't scolded, learning is praised.
"They've gone on to be lawyers and doctors. They've gone on to be engineers and boat captains and ranch managers. I mean, whatever they could dream up they've gone on to become," Nichols said.
Now, 3,500 students have gone through the school founded by Dr. Dore. They became something, because one woman believed they could.
Dr. Dore passed away on April 16, in Texas, where she moved to be with her sister. Her legacy of learning will live on in Charlotte.