As I approach graduation (it’s like, five days away, guys), I can’t help but reflect on my past four years of high school. For those of you who don’t know, I was homeschooled until 9th grade, at which point in time I started attending Commonwealth Charter Academy (it used to be called Commonwealth Connections Academy, but whatever). It’s a tuition-free cyber charter school, and although there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding cyber school, I have thoroughly enjoyed these past four years. I have had so many amazing teachers who have invested in my life and cared about me.
This week, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite teachers and the impact they have made on my education.
Mr. Kalahanis – 9th grade English – You were so much fun to have as a teacher! From your silly review questions to having us hold a mock trial against your puppy for “murdering” his stuffed animal, your lessons were always so lively. Seeing as you are from Greece, I also got to learn a lot about Grecian customs and culture. I always fondly look back on the time that you were my teacher, and you were a great one!
Mrs. Rivera – 9th grade Pre-Algebra and 10th grade Algebra – I can’t even tell you how much you impacted my education. I was never particularly good at math, but you made it as fun and easy as possible. Your genuine excitement and passion for math made me want to learn, and so many concepts that you taught me created a firm foundation for later math classes to rest upon. Not only were you an amazing teacher while I was in your class, but you continued to go above and beyond to be kind to me when I was no longer in any of your classes. You came to congratulate me when I was inducted into the National Honor Society; in my senior year, I attended another NHS induction and you made it a point to come visit me even though I wasn’t the one being inducted. It meant a lot to me that you still cared even though you hadn’t been my teacher for two years. You are truly remarkable.
Mrs. Offut – 9th grade World History – I love history, and I enjoyed how you would accentuate our lessons by showing us the trailers for historical films. When I took my Keystones in 10th grade and you administered them, you encouraged me when I became stressed and cried over the Algebra portion. You told me a story about a test you took in college where you thought you had done horribly and ended up getting the highest grade in the class. Well, you were right about me; I ended up getting “Advanced” on all of my Keystones!
Mrs. Begis – 10th grade Biology – Biology was fascinating, and you were the teacher who got to introduce me to my favorite branch of science, genetics. I learned a lot from your class, and I will always remember how you drew a blank and called a mouse’s foreleg a “mouse arm”. That was our class’s joke for a little while, haha.
Mr. Kimble – 10th grade U.S. History – I had so much fun in your class. One of my favorite things was how you would have “Today in History” facts every day. You were chill and let me be super competitive in our review games, even though I got a little intense at times. I loved getting to meet you, and I’ve heard from another classmate that you and your wife had a baby, so congratulations!! I think that you will be a great father.
Monsieur Bihoreau – 10th grade French I – Monsieur, j’adore Français, and it’s all because of you. During your class, I not only learned French, but I developed a love of the culture and people in France and French-speaking countries. I loved how you immersed us in the language by having us listen to French songs, and I still listen to “Je te Donne” a lot. You were always willing to help when I needed it, as well. I loved your accent and your class. Merci, Monsieur. I am privileged to be have been your étudiant.
Mrs. Carroll – 11th grade Honors English – I always said you were “the Mrs. Rivera of English”, and for good reason. Like her, you were so bubbly and excited about the subject that you taught, and although I already loved English, you made me even more excited to learn. Something I liked the most was that you always prodded us to look as deep as possible into the themes and symbolism of stories. I remember a time when another classmate commented on a poem about comfort food and said, “Maybe the author was just hungry”. It was amusing, and you laughed, but you never let us sit still and enjoy a story on the surface; we always got to the root of the meaning behind seemingly simplistic words and plots. You would always hold your book up to the microphone and flip through the pages so we could hear that you had your book with you and that we should go get ours. Sometimes you would hit the desk in your excitement and we would all ask if the desk was okay. However, one thing I will always remember is how you taught us to analyze the first sentence/paragraph of a story or poem, because those first sentences tell the most about the story and its message. No teacher had ever stressed that and none have since, but I wish more would, because you were right.
Mrs. Voitek – 11th grade Physical Science and 12th grade Chemistry – I got to be part of your very first CCA class, and I like to think that dealing with our craziness prepared you for any future classes you have. I had a blast with you as my Physical Science teacher, and that’s precisely why I insisted that I wanted no one but you as my Chemistry teacher this year. You’re really good at explaining difficult subjects, and making you laugh is so much fun. You also endure my incessant questions and help me every time, so thank you. I may not be Jude’s official godmother, but I love him and I love you. You are one of my favorite teachers. 🙂
Mrs. Morgan – 11th grade Honors American Government – Government and politics interested me, but before your class, I didn’t always understand them. I learned a lot about how government works, and your class is the reason I ended up being a part of the Youth and Government Club this year. Your lessons were interesting, and I discovered a passion for politics that I hadn’t known as strongly beforehand. Thank you for setting me on the path to becoming a more involved and informed citizen.
Mr. Martindell – 11th grade Psychology – One word describes all our classes – tangents. Okay, okay, you did teach us a lot about Psychology, but I also enjoyed whenever you talked with us about comics and books. You were super funny, and I made a list of all your random quotes.
Mrs. Hall – 12th grade Honors English – I really appreciate you fighting for me to speak at graduation, even if I ultimately didn’t get the role. You also went above and beyond to help when certain topics triggered my anxiety. Thank you.
Mr. Leonard – 12th grade Driver’s Ed – You taught me a lot about driving and I love that the ferrets were our class joke. #NeverForget #KeepTheFerretsAlive
Mrs. Goforth – 12th grade Youth and Government Club Advisor – Thank you so much for keeping us alive for four days in Harrisburg. I know that we all were a bit hyper and perhaps difficult at times, but it was obvious that you truly cared for us. One of my favorite memories is the fact that you didn’t like how little they fed us for breakfast, so you bought basically a whole buffet and fed us in your hotel room. You corralled us and helped us, and you are the perfect choice for YAG advisor.
Ms. Shaffer – 12th grade Harrisburg Prom Committee Coordinator – Thank you for making the first ever Harrisburg prom possible!! I loved meeting you this year, and you did a great job making everything come together. It was an amazing night, and I still can’t believe I won as the first ever Harrisburg Prom Queen! You were so nice and collaborative with us students, and I think I speak for the whole prom committee when I say that we absolutely loved you.
Mrs. Comegna – 12th grade Algebra 2 – You have been a great math teacher. You continued Mrs. Rivera’s good work and have taught me a lot about Algebra. You’re easy to understand and you’re always ready to help. I love that you teach your kids mathematical concepts and make videos with them, and it makes me happy that you told me you would have me babysit your kids if I lived closer. You have been so kind right from the beginning! Thank you for your patience and ability to have fun with math.
To all my teachers who have influenced me, educated me, and cared about me.
I wouldn’t be graduating in five days without you.
Thank you. I hope I can make you proud.
Your turn! Who are some of your favorite teachers and how have they influenced you?