10 Country: Professor Valentine - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Professor Valentine

February 10, 2005

Tifton--   Valentine's Day will come and go in a hurry, with the chocolates eaten, with the flowers faded, and with the cards in the trash. The love season doesn't have to end that way.

"Grab a bag. You are going to need a bag," says Nadine Cook to her students as she starts another class.

She rates as one of those special professors that have passion for what they teach, and can readily empathize with their students because she has been there and felt that herself, hearing many of the same comments class after class.

"They will be like: 'I don't have a creative bone in my body,' and I say, 'Neither do I'", says Nadine.

Nadine Cook, or Professor Valentine, as some people call her this time of year, develops individual creativity by teaching others how to make valentines and greeting cards that often get saved for years. "They hang on to the handmade cards instead of store bought ones," says Nadine, about the longevity of highly personalized cards. "They are not carbon copies."

Amanda Hawkins certainly hopes so. She gave up mass produced, store bought Valentines. Now, she makes them herself. "This is the first one," says Amanda as she presses a piece of white paper over a rubber stamp with red ink, the first step in making her valentine, a card she expects her special person to always cherish. "It's handmade, from the heart and fun to make," says Amanda with a smile.

The good professor makes learning fun, while treating students as individuals in a world that gets more impersonal every day. "Today, it's all e-mail. Quick this and quick that," laments Nadine, who believes handmade cards convey exactly how you feel.

Perhaps, that's why we love to give Valentines, second only in popularity to Christmas cards. The industry says we can expect to give 900 million valentines away this year. "Y'all doing OK over here," asks Nadine, to a group of friends who came to the class together.

Professor Valentine doesn't teach for the money, but helps change the world one person at a time. "To touch a person's life with a personal gesture is important to me," says Nadine.

Her students enjoy their rekindled creativity, loving the process of making a Valentine perhaps more so now than when they did when they were much younger. "You got it," says Nadine, encouraging a student after seeing her handiwork.

Nadine's greeting card education started nine years ago when she took up card making, and gradually she learned more about the craft and became a teacher.

"I love her. She's great," says another student Claudia Valdiviezo.

Nadine Cook is a can-do professor loved by her students, especially during the love season and during other seasons as well. She teaches people how to make cards for other special occasions such as Mother's Day and Easter.

posted at 9:55AM by dave.miller@walb.com