Rainey uses past struggles to help students

Published 6:53 pm Saturday, March 4, 2017

Michael Rainey, a native of Selma, grew up in a household with more than 15 people, and was raised by his grandparents, Ainnie and the late Lee Curtis Rainey. He never knew his father and he left his mother when he was 9 years old.

“My grandparents raised me all my life and they’ve been a great aspiration for my life,” Rainey said. “They raised their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids all in one household.”

Now a science teacher, Rainey uses his struggles as a child to help his sixth-grade students at School of Discovery with more than just their books.

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“What I’ve been through in my life, inspired me to motivate others in their life,” Rainey said.  “By me not knowing my father, it kind of set the stage of who I became as a young man. I was left with a void in my life of who I was. So I started this group called the Esquire Club, a male mentoring group.”

Rainey has had groups like Esquire in the past at previous schools, and wanted to continue that when he began teaching at School of Discovery.

In the mentoring group, students learn to serve their school, the community and much more.

“Being in a community where you have poverty and things of that nature, it reminds me of where I came from,” Rainey said. “We serve the community, we show them how a young man should be as far as dressing and carrying themselves.”

Rainey graduated from Selma High School and went on to Concordia College Alabama to receive his teaching degree.

Rainey said he has known for a long time that teaching is what he wanted to do.

“I was blessed with many gifts. I have the gift of drawing, music and I can sing a little bit, and I just wanted to bring all of those gifts and share it with someone else,” Rainey said.

In third grade, at Knox Elementary, is where Rainey decided he wanted to be a teacher one day.

“I was just drawing, and all my friends said ‘man, I love the way you draw, come show us how you do all that drawing.’ So I said OK, and I showed them and low and behold my best friend … learned how to draw through me,” Rainey said.

After teaching his friend to draw, Rainey knew one day he was going to be a teacher and he was going to be able to share his gifts with a new generation. Little did he know it would be at the very school he once attended.

“Never did I know that I would be here teaching at this school,” Rainey said. “It’s not over yet, the best is yet to come.”