Delores Dudley truly saw her profession as a calling. With a strong desire to help others and the community in the pursuit of knowledge, she graduated from Norfolk State University in Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1971. While completing postgraduate coursework at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville between 1981 and 1984, she began her career as an English teacher with Cradock High School in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1982. After earning a Master of Arts in communications from Norfolk State University, Ms. Dudley joined Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth as an English and public speaking teacher in 1992. Furthermore, she progressed to an English teacher with the aforementioned institution from 1994 until her retirement in 2015.
A time that Ms. Dudley will never forget as a teacher was just being happy for the students when they got awards because the students would be happy, along with the parents. In addition to her primary endeavors, she contributed as a columnist for several publications including the Portsmouth Daily Times Newspaper, the Citizens Press and the Virginian-Pilot newspaper. A renowned poet and author, her written works include “Tribute,” “Memories of a Mother,” “Keisha’s Killing” and “How to Face the New Year,” among others. Ms. Dudley maintains an active presence in her community and has been heavily involved with the Third Baptist Church since 1995. She also volunteered with the Salvation Army, the Feed the Hungry Campaign and Operation Santa.
For her accomplishments in the field, she has been honored as a Black Educator by National Delicados, Inc., in 2007, named Teacher of the Year by Woodrow Wilson High School in 2006 and received an award from the NAACP. To remain abreast of developments in the field, she is a member of the National Education Association, the National Association for the Teaching of English, the Association of American Universities and the Portsmouth Education Association, among others.
What inspires and or motivates Ms. Dudley is her late mother because she was one who believed in education. Before she passed away, she asked her what kind of teacher she wanted to be, to which she responded that she wanted to be an English teacher. Ms. Dudley’s mother also went to Norfolk State University, which was nicknamed “Little State” back when she attended in 1935.
In addition, Ms. Dudley feels poetry is a gift from God. She further attributes her talent to her heavy Christian upbringing, going to church five times a week. She wrote articles and essays in the fourth and fifth grades, as well as later in the eighth and ninth grades, and the words just came in her head. Her teachers could not understand how she was able to do all the reading and literature so easily. It was something that Ms. Dudley just understood, just like when she tutored Shakespeare in the 12th grade because she understood it.
Ms. Dudley would like to be remembered as a person who tried to be caring in a way to help or be a helper; that is all that she really wanted to do. Furthermore, people would send her kind notes and she was seen by others as someone who tried hard. For example, she helped one of her students with his speech, and his mother told her that she was a good person and that we needed more people in the world like her. Ms. Dudley would also like to be remembered as someone with a kind heart, meaning one who does not hate anyone regardless of race, creed, etc. She just wanted respect in her classroom and to be given respect in return.