Humans of Lincoln East: Toni Seidel-Dutton

The only way to really understand someone is to realize that, “We are more alike than we are different.” Toni Seidel-Dutton, is an English teacher here at East who teaches a copious amount of classes. A couple of years ago she left Southwest High School, to teach at East. She relishes in helping students gain new perspectives. After battling breast cancer in 2014, she realized that light can always be found even in the darkest of places. With the aid of her family and friends, she was able to connect with her son that she had given up for adoption years prior. “I’m just so thankful for the past six years that we’ve had together.” She believes that getting breast cancer was a catalyst in forming her relationship with her son. By making the jump to get into contact with him, she gained a new daughter in-law, and three grand-daughters. She continues to recognize that “If you push through the difficulty, there’s pleasure on the other side”. We just need to be brave enough to try.

When you look at Ms. Dutton’s passion for education, you find that she relishes in expanding students’ minds. She admits that the hardest part about teaching high

Ms. Dutton hugging her son.

schoolers is trying to make their learning meaningful. “There’s a lot distracting you guys, there are lots of things pulling at your attention.” If she can just get a grip on one student, she can help them see the world in a new light. With so much going on in the world, she knows at the moment it’s vital not to make assumptions about people. But to work together and discuss rather than to argue. She understands that it’s crucial to do things that might scare you, to talk to people who you usually wouldn’t. When she found her son again, she said that “It opened up my world in so many good ways.” And had she not gotten cancer, she probably wouldn’t have reached out to him, and her life would be completely different today.

The importance of connection is sewn all throughout Ms. Dutton’s life. Starting with her children (and grand-children), you find that they are essential for her survival. She wouldn’t be where she is today without her family and friends. They were there for her through her biggest struggles, and continue to flock whenever she needs them. She values her family very much, and is so thankful for the time she’s been able to spend with her son that she reconnected with.

Above all else, Ms. Dutton is a testament to triumph and perseverance. It isn’t difficult to understand how significant having a strong support system is. Everyone needs a team that you know will forever have your back, and that you can always count on. Don’t hesitate to connect with people that matter most to you. “We are more alike than we are different”, as Ms. Dutton says, in more ways than one. Remember to not let an event in your life overwhelm you, by keeping a hold on to those who matter most.