Students honor influential teachers

by 8-18 Media

owl-47526_640Each spring, as the school year comes to a close, schools in Marquette and Alger counties celebrate Excellence in Education Week. The top five percent of seniors who become Excellence in Education scholars get a scholarship and also get to name the most influential educator of their learning career so far.
The reasons the scholars picked their most influential educator varied. Several explained the reasons for recognizing who they did.
Tori Arnsparger of Gwinn said middle school pre-algebra teacher Brian Rice is just a good guy all around.
“He made class really interesting—really entertaining,” she said. “He always had new ways to teach and was really personable and knowledgeable and I just couldn’t think of a better person to have as my most influential teacher.”
Lucas LaFreniere of Negaunee said he owes his passion for writing and literature to poetry and humanities teacher Connie Heinlein.
“I do not think that without Mrs. Heinlein’s influence and her own passion for the subject that she teaches that I would have ever come to be the person I am intellectually today,” he said. “Especially with poetry…I never thought that I would love poetry as much as I do.
“But, because of the way that she taught it, and the way that she made it seem to me, I absolutely love it now and spend a lot of my time reading it and writing it.”
Andrew Brugman of Marquette said he has been greatly influenced though years of working in music with orchestra teacher Catherine Moilanen.
“I started in music with her when I was in fifth grade and I’ve worked with her every since,” he said. “She’s been one of the best teachers I’ve had and one of the best friends I’ve ever been able to work with. So, it was a pretty obvious choice for me.”
Michelle Johnson of Ishpeming pointed to the supportive nature of high school English teacher Cory Stiles.
“He’s very supportive of his students and he teaches very well,” she said. “He’s taught me a lot.”
Freya Lehmberg of Marquette picked high school language teacher Deborah Vezzetti because of her willingness to give extra help to students.
“I picked her because she helped me a lot with my writing and I know she spends a lot of time helping students after school,” she said.
Isaac Smith of Marquette honored high school Spanish teacher Patrick Reilly and singled out his sense of fun in the classroom.
“I picked him because he makes my class fun and everybody really seems to like to learn from him,” he said. “He just really enjoys teaching and he has fun doing it and he does a really good job with it.”
Travis Saari of Munising said high school physics teacher Mandy Frantti engages her students in learning.
“Unlike a lot of teachers nowadays, she can actually involve the students and she’ll actually teach things in a way that it kind of relates to things,” he said. “She doesn’t just throw a work sheet out and tell you to do it and read your book. She will actually demonstrate things for you. So, I like the way she conducts her classroom and I wish there were more teachers like her.”
Leo Isleib of Munising said middle and high school band teacher Jeff Ingraham is very deserving of the honor this year.
“He has basically taken a band program that was extremely weak and turned it around,” he said. “He’s done wonders with our class. He’s taken a personal interest in a lot of students, including me. He’s really gone the extra mile for me and done some things that have definitely improved my musicianship and my confidence as a student and a musician.
“He’s a great guy and I thought that he deserved some recognition. Also our band program has been cut including his position. We will still have a band, but his position has been cut this year. And I thought it would be a crime not to recognize his efforts in some way.”
Hopefully, these Excellence in Education scholars, just eight out of the forty-three honored, have given us a snapshot of what a good teacher should be.

— 8-18 Media

Editors Note: This story was written by Ben Harris, 14, Danielle Jahnke, 12 and Will Guter 8.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.