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Significant Educators Our 2013 Excellence in Education students were offered the opportunity to honor an educator who has played a significant role during.

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Presentation on theme: "Significant Educators Our 2013 Excellence in Education students were offered the opportunity to honor an educator who has played a significant role during."— Presentation transcript:

1 Significant Educators Our 2013 Excellence in Education students were offered the opportunity to honor an educator who has played a significant role during their academic lifetime. These influential educators are identified on the following pages. Significant Educator Index

2 2013 Significant Educators BakerBaker Barrett Bartz Beck Becker Bullmer Cardwell Chapoton B.Cooper M.CooperBarrettBartzBeckBeckerBullmer CardwellChapotonB.CooperM.Cooper DahlDahl Felkel Friedman Goerge GrueterFelkelFriedmanGoerge Grueter HillHill Hoffman Houtrouw Howell HuffHoffmanHoutrouwHowellHuff IuniIuni Jones Kane Kizer LangsJones KaneKizerLangs McManusMcManus Mills Moreland Pelletier Portis Scoles Simmons Sinclair SmithMillsMorelandPelletierPortis ScolesSimmonsSinclairSmith TaylorTaylor Thorstenson Wendland WiersmaThorstensonWendlandWiersma

3 Significant Educator: Kent Baker Nominating Student: Adam Taggett, Portage Central Student comment: Mr. Baker has been an incredibly beneficial and influential individual in my academic career. His committed yet lighthearted approach to teaching continues to encourage my enthusiasm for school. I came to appreciate the subject of history through his class freshman year, a subject that subsequently has been of lasting interest to me. He acted as an advisor for my International Baccalaureate Extended Essay, and his assistance was insightful and encouraging. Mr. Baker's role as an educator in my life is unparalleled, and for that I am incredibly grateful. Return to Index

4 Significant Educator: Topher Barrett Nominating Student: Katrina Hamann, Kalamazoo Central Student comment: Mr. Barrett is a passionate and dedicated drama teacher. I have had the pleasure of working with him on two theater productions at Kalamazoo Central. He cares about each of his students and, on a personal level, encouraged me to take part in theater. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him, and I credit him for inspiring me to get involved with acting. Return to Index

5 Significant Educator: Josh Bartz Nominating Student: Penelope Shirey, Portage Northern Student comment: Mr. Bartz has been a constant source of encouragement to me throughout high school. As my band director, he challenged me to develop myself during marching band, and he supported me fully as I pursued national honor bands. Even though marching band is over, he still actively supports me as I pursue my dreams. I have been so blessed to have such an amazing mentor in my life. Return to Index

6 Significant Educator: John Beck High School Social Studies, Heritage Christian Academy Nominating Student: Missy Rawsthorne, Heritage Christian Student comment: Mr. Beck has been my history teacher all four years in high school. Although history has never been my favorite subject, he has always made the class enjoyable. The standards that he sets in the classroom, both during class and for homework, have pushed me and motivated my work ethic to be at the best of my ability. Most of all, Mr. Beck has really taught me that although you may not enjoy the subject, it is your perspective and attitude about the class that will make learning pleasurable. Significant Educator comment: Missy Rawsthorne is a fantastic student. She is willing to go above and beyond in the pursuit of academic excellence. I can always count on her to do well in class. Return to Index

7 Significant Educator: Peg Alofs Becker Pre-Calculus, A.P. Statistics and Information Technology, Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (Retired) Nominating Student: Daniel Woodworth, Kalamazoo Central Student comment: I chose to invite Mrs. Becker because I feel that her Information Technology class was especially influential in my interest in computers. Besides learning a lot about computers and digital media in that class, I got very involved in the TI-BASIC aspect of it and, with Mrs. Becker's constant encouragement and stimulation, I was able to hone my programming skills and push the limits of interpreted code on the calculator. I now am looking at pursuing a career in Computer Science and I would like to thank Mrs. Becker for teaching me about computers and for coaching me in writing programs for them. Significant Educator Comment: Daniel Woodworth, I was astounded by your programming skills already in 9th grade, and your willingness to share with your peers was so very admirable. It was gift to me, to have you in my class. Thank you for this honor. You deserve this distinction and I pray for your continued success. Mrs. Peg Alofs Becker Return to Index

8 Significant Educator: Christopher Bullmer Nominating Student: Eric Thornburg, Kalamazoo Central Student comment: Last year, I had Mr. Bullmer for AP English Language and Composition. Before the class, I had never really appreciated an English class, but Mr. Bullmer changed my perspective; he pushed me to take my writing to a new level of proficiency and fine-tuned the class to the contours of my specific needs. Always there for help, reassurance, or even just advice, Mr. Bullmer embodies the kind of teacher any student would be honored to have. Return to Index

9 Significant Educator: Mark Cardwell Mathematics and Computer Science, Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center Nominating Student: Andrew Hepp, Kalamazoo Central Student comment: Mr. Cardwell works exceptionally hard to set students up for success not only in his class, but in their future endeavors. He makes a point to develop fundamental building blocks and harness them to explain much more complex concepts instead of resorting to the less laborious memorization or repetition. Beyond that Mr. Cardwell is willing to spend extra time, far more than obligatory, with students to address any questions or difficulties they might have. Significant Educator Comment: Congratulations Andrew on all of your accomplishments over the last four years and the dedication and hard work that went into them. Enjoy all that is in front of you! Return to Index

10 Significant Educator: Colleen Chapoton Science, Hackett Catholic Central Nominating Student: Paul Smith, Hackett Catholic Central Student comment: Ms. Colleen Chapoton has been a very important part of my educational career. She has acted as a mentor to me in my four years at Hackett Catholic Central High School. Her devotion to teaching and the sincere concern she shows for all her students have greatly influenced my decision to become a teacher; her passion for science has also strengthened my love of science. Knowing this, she encouraged me to work as a Science Teacher Consultant this year; giving me the opportunity to work with 9th graders who needed extra assistance and guidance. Ms. Chapoton is by far one of the kindest people I have ever met, and this is demonstrated by the high regard so many people have for her. Her compassion and selflessness for all, not only makes her a noteworthy educator, but also a great person as well. Ms. Colleen Chapoton is definitely a significant educator in my life and in the lives of all of her students. Significant Educator Comment: I am blessed to be a teacher. Every day I wake up knowing that I have the privilege of working with talented, caring, thoughtful, and fun-loving students. Every evening, when I reflect on the day's events, I realize that these students help to make me a better person. By loving what I do, I feel that I can encourage and challenge students to reach their greatest potential. I hope that they leave my classroom with a passion for learning and with the skills they need to pursue their dreams. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to teach and work with these amazing students. Return to Index

11 Significant Educator: Becky Cooper Literature and Writing, Academically Talented Youth Program (ATYP) at Western MIchigan University Nominating Students: Grace Smith, Hackett Catholic Central Thomas Barth, Kalamazoo Central Student comments: Grace Smith : Ms. Cooper was my ATYP teacher in 7th and 8th grade. The class was extremely hard and I would not have made it through without Ms. Cooper. Her spontaneity and brilliance carried me through the tough times and I will be forever grateful to her for that. I will carry the skills she taught me with me for the rest of my life and know that any success I might be lucky enough to have started with her. Ms. Cooper's influence changed my life and for that I will be eternally grateful. Thomas Barth : Becky Cooper not only changed my approach to studying literature, but to the art of learning as a whole. In every interaction I have had with Coop, both inside and outside the classroom, she has been able to reinvigorate my excitement to continue my education. Whenever anyone asks me what I consider the most influential class I have ever taken, without hesitation, I sing the praises of Becky's teaching. I wish that every student in Kalamazoo could have the joy of experiencing one of her classes. Significant Educator Comment: I feel extraordinarily lucky to greet each day saying, I get to go to ATYP! There's no other work so worthy and exciting to me. I find that students want to be engaged and challenged. By providing an atmosphere that fosters exploration and dialogue, I believe our students learn the size of their minds. As teachers, we must help our students gain confidence in their abilities and voices. Once they feel that sense of discovery and empowerment, they are on the path toward shaping their destinies. I believe the process of writing and the exploration of literature are two powerful means for getting students prepared to use their critical reasoning skills to overcome the obstacles that life will inevitably place in their journey. By studying the human condition, students appreciate life's joys, both small and great. Return to Index

12 Significant Educator: Megan Cooper Physical Therapy ONE, Schoolcraft High School Nominating Student: Jordan Devenney, Schoolcraft Student comment: Many people that I had to opportunity to intern with over the last four month greatly influenced my decision to become a physical therapist. Among these people were Jennie Miller, Shad Spears, Mary-Teresa Fletter, Leah and Joe Walters, Kathy Koob, Kristen Murga Stradt, and Megan Cooper. Especially Megan Cooper. Throughout the time that I was there I had the pleasure of shadowing Megan and her clients. She taught me different procedures, rules, exercises, and the basics of different injuries and treatment programs. For that I am so thankful. Without her I would never have known how much I would enjoy being a physical therapist. Originally I was set on becoming a registered nurse. However, after I witnessed the relationships that physical therapists build with their clients and co- workers and how they help people get back in the game, I can't imagine becoming anything else. Significant Educator comment: I give students as many varied practical experiences of the demands of being a physical therapist, so that they know what the field fully entails. I encourage the student to ask questions and do some research about things that interest them. I make sure we have time together to discuss certain cases and questions the students have. Return to Index

13 Significant Educator: Kathryn Dahl 5th Grade, Winchell Elementary Nominating Student: Ingrid Johnson, Loy Norrix Student comment: Mrs. Dahl has played a significant role in my education since I was in her fifth grade class at Winchell Elementary. She pushed me to work hard and do my best, so that I was really working toward my college goals from an early age. Mrs. Dahl's expertise in reading and writing have helped me succeed all along, and will have a positive impact as I become an English major in college. She clearly believed in me and expected great things from all of us. I sincerely hope I can make her proud as I start a new chapter in life upon graduation. Significant Educator comment: My personal commitment is to challenge students to reach for their best. Encouraging students to think in a new way or add more thoughts and possibilities to a writing piece is an easy task when working with students as talented as Ingrid. Return to Index

14 Significant Educator: Significant Educator: Barbara Felkel Latin, Loy Norrix High School Nominating Student: Troy Swodzinski, Loy Norrix Student comment: At Loy Norrix, Barbara Felkel is an enigma; not one student knows how old she truly is and no one will likely ever find out. But no matter how many days go by, her enthusiasm for the subject she teaches continues to infect those around her. She is the very embodiment of the KPS Latin program. I've taken three levels of Latin with Mrs. Felkel since my freshman year and consider myself privileged to know her. Significant Educator comment: The study of Latin equips students for the future in rather unique ways. My striving consists mainly in finding the best ways of convincing students of the value and importance of the subject. One component of Latin study that has been very effective is English vocabulary building through a knowledge of Latin roots. Ability to use language effectively translates into power to influence the future, and Latin students will certainly be more equipped to do this. Another component is the rich cultural heritage that Latin literature expresses. Students respond well to the study of Roman mythology because, although it is myth, it is also very real and personal. The study of mythology equips students for the future because it enables them to respond intelligently to innumerable works of art, literature, and music. Return to Index

15 Significant Educator: Jeanne Friedman Latin, Portage Northern High School Nominating Student: Matthew Cartier, Portage Northern Student comment: Mrs. Friedman has inspired in me a love of Latin that I would not have developed on my own. More broadly, she has taught me to think critically, challenged me intellectually, and helped me succeed through four years of high school. Significant Educator comment: I consider what I do a privilege, to share daily my passion for the past with the leaders of the future. Through the intensive study of the Latin language and the culture of the geographically and culturally diversified Romans, we work every day to unlock the mysteries of all Romantic languages and to see connections between the ancient Romans and cultures in modernity, using a variety of lenses and, ultimately, striving to dispel the myth that Latin is dead. Return to Index

16 Significant Educator: Mike Goerge Math, Vicksburg Middle School Nominating Student: Meg McGuire, Vicksburg Student comment: Mr. Goerge stands out among all of the teachers that I have had because he was both effective and enthusiastic. I was amazed during both my freshman and sophomore year math courses at how much I remembered and already knew from Mr. Goerge's 8th grade class. Somehow he managed to teach the concepts in way that stuck. He also knew how to keep a bunch of goofy 8th graders interested in the class and let us have some fun when our work was finished. To this day, that class is still my favorite and I know that this is true for my classmates too because we often reminisce about the good times that we had in there with Mr. Goerge. Significant Educator comment: Meg, I was very honored when you selected me as one of your significant educators. It seems like just yesterday that you were an eighth grader in my advanced algebra class. It was very obvious, even then, that you were destined to do great things with your life. You were, and continue to be, a dedicated, hard-working student who leads by example. It's been exciting to follow you and all that you've accomplished these last four years. I'll be anxious to see where all your hard work takes you as you embark on the next stage of your journey. Best wishes, Mr. Goerge. Return to Index

17 Significant Educator: Colleen Grueter Nominating Student: Jarrod Wetzel-Brown, Comstock Student comment: Mrs. Colleen Grueter has always been the kind of person who believes that anyone can accomplish their dreams. From the first day of her freshmen course, she instilled me with a sense of accomplishment and, more importantly, a feeling of hope for the future. Over the years she has encouraged me, fed answers to my many hungry questions, and has become a close friend and a cherished mentor. She once told me that I was capable of great things, and now I believe her. Colleen Grueter will always have a special place in my heart as the woman who not only taught me that a life full of dreams is worth something but also that the only life worth living is one in which you can strive to reach your dreams. Return to Index

18 Significant Educator: Ginger Hill Nominating Student: Molly Ouvry, Vicksburg Student comment: Mrs. Hill's class is one of my earliest memories of my education. Mrs. Hill encouraged me to enjoy reading with a take home stuffed animal reading buddy and to enjoy homework, which for some reason always excited me. Mrs. Hill pulled out my front teeth and she helped me create bond with my classmates that are still my best friends today. We still reminisce how much fun we had in her class 12 years ago. Mrs. Hill was and will continue to be one of the best teachers I've ever had. Return to Index

19 Significant Educator: William Hoffman Mathematics, Kalamazoo Christian High School Nominating Student: Christian Visser, Kalamazoo Christian Student comment: Mr. Hoffman has greatly expanded my math knowledge over the past two years I had him as a teacher. He is a natural educator; he does a great job relaying difficult concepts to his students in a manner they will understand. In addition to being a talented teacher, Mr. Hoffman is an excellent example. Somehow he finds a way to integrate relatable life lessons into his mathematical agenda. Furthermore, he has gone out of his way to work on problems with me, scheduling times to go through them before and after school. I appreciate all of the effort he has invested in me that contributed to my outstanding education. Significant Educator comment: I strive to equip students for the future by contributing to their acquiring the knowledge and skill necessary to contribute to the improvement of God's world. I also hope to assist them in developing a vision for life that has biblical principles at its core. Given these, I trust they will become men and women who think critically, work diligently, act justly, and love mercy as they walk humbly before their maker. Return to Index

20 Significant Educator: Shannon Houtrouw Pre-AP* Computer Science w/C++; AP* Computer Science w/Java; Advanced Computer Science w/Python; Discrete Mathematics, Kalamazoo Area Math Science Center Nominating Students: Alex Lim, Kalamazoo Central Abhiram Krishnan, Portage Central Helena Mills, Portage Central Jonathan Brelje, Portage Northern Gagan Gupta, Portage Northern Katie Lee, Portage Northern Raoul Wadhwa, Portage Northern Student comments: Alex Lim : Mr. Houtrouw has been a constant force of encouragement during my high school career. He cares very much about me and all of his students, entertaining the entire classroom with his various antics, giving up many of his afternoons to let students stay after to work on projects, and encouraging his students to achieve greatness. During my busiest and most stressful times, I find that I can talk to him about my worries and he will provide advice that motivates and reconstitutes my being. I appreciate and want to thank Mr. Houtrouw for all of his support that helped me to succeed in high school and prepared me for success in college. Next

21 Significant Educator: Shannon Houtrouw Student comments: Abhiram Krishnan : Mr. Houtrouw began teaching me in his tenth grade Computer Science class. Starting that year, with his encouragement, I took programming to a new level, treating it as an extracurricular activity rather than daily schoolwork. In addition, he organized numerous trips to programming competitions. He even took extra time and effort to connect several of my friends and me with an internship for a local IT company, which grown to a regular job. His inspiration has molded me from a math/science oriented student into a math/science oriented student with a passion for programming. Helena Mills : Mr. Houtrouw has always supported me and encouraged me to continue on in Computer Science. Jonathan Brelje : Mr. Houtrouw has certainly been one of the most influential teachers in my life. He introduced me to computer science as a sophomore and his enthusiasm for the subject really got me hooked. Because of him, I'm choosing to major in computer science and I cannot thank him enough for the passion he has put into teaching me these last three years. Next

22 Significant Educator: Shannon Houtrouw Student comments: Gafan Gupta : Mr. Houtrouw brought me into the world of computer science during my sophomore year. When I was reluctant about taking his AP class the next year, he basically forced me to take it, and it has turned out to be one of the best things that has happened to me. I now plan on majoring in computer science in college, and there would be no way that would even have been a possibility without Mr. Houtrouw. But, apart from being an amazing teacher, I see him as a friend that I could tell anything to. After hours and hours of time spent talking with him at competitions and after school, he's taught me to love the little things in life, and to always strive for the best, no matter what the competition may be. He's fun to be around, and overall a great person. For these reasons, I have chosen Mr. Houtrouw as my significant educator, and I hope to keep the friendship we have formed for the rest of my life. Thank you Mr. H! Katie Lee : Mr. Houtrouw helped me to realize my interest in computer science by convincing me to take his class. His classes were enjoyable and challenging, and he has always been an approachable and fun teacher. I would like to thank him for continuing to encourage me to take advantage of every opportunity that will prepare me for my future. Raoul Wadhwa :Mr. Houtrouw always inspires students to do their best and pursue well-set goals in the long term, as well as the short term. He is always very encouraging, and only wishes the best for his students. He truly is an inspirational figure. Next

23 Significant Educator: Shannon Houtrouw Significant Educator comment: //ClassOf2013.cp#include #include #include int main(){ //Variable declarations string message = Congratulations 2013 ExInEd Scholars! const bool PURSUING_EXCELLENCE=true; //Repeat program indefinitely while (PURSUING_EXCELLENCE) { //Keys to success if (workingHard > slackingOff) { enjoyTheFruitOfYourLabors(); haveFunWhileDoingSo(); } else { workHardAnyway(); haveFunAnyway(); } //no matter what field/vocation you go into maintainIntegrity(); ventureOutsideYourComfortZone(); beATeamPlayer(); showGratitude(); } //Congrats Class of 2013 iLoveYouGuys(); godBlessYou(); return 0; } Return to Index

24 Significant Educator: Steven Howell Nominating Student: Andrew Behrmann, Comstock Student comment: Had Steven Howell not been my teacher during my years in elementary school, my academic strengths would not be where they are today. Steven would always be willing to assist me with tougher schoolwork and taught me to not give up when faced with difficult tasks beyond my ability to complete, and to remain calm while learning how to complete the task. The ability for me to persevere when performing difficult tasks and to avoid rushing through them were gained from Steven Howell's class, which makes him a significant educator in my journey through school thus far. Return to Index

25 Significant Educator: Kevin Huff Nominating Student: Kerry O'Donnell, Parchment Student comment: Mr. Huff is significant to my high school career because of the vast knowledge which he offers and provides. He is very well- versed in literature, history, and the English language. As someone whose strength is all of those fields, I take his teachings to heart. He always has insight and advice to give. He is not likely at all to leave class in a huff, because he is by nature very calm and patient. Outside of school, Mr. Huff also promotes a healthy lifestyle through his own endeavours in cycling and rock climbing; he started the cycling club at Parchment High School. My Significant Educator is quite simply a venerable gentleman, in many ways, and he deserves to be honoured--and emulated. Return to Index

26 Significant Educator: Russ Iuni Mathematics, Parchment High School Nominating Student: Brent Dziewicki, Parchment Student comment: Mr. Iuni is an excellent educator. He is special, he is kind, and he is intelligent. The way he approaches every day and every class are one of the same; he steps foot in the school wanting to teach, wanting students to learn, and wanting them to understand. His way of educating is different from others. He understands people and has a unique way of interacting with all aspects of a student. Mr. Iuni has the ability to say something once and be perceived and understood immediately. He has been very significant to a countless amount of students, showing them a pathway to reach success. Significant Educator comment: Analytics is a growing field and we need to prepare our students for this exciting, but uncharted future. In my Mathematic classes, my goal is for the students to leave as better problem solvers by using the Mathematics as our tool. We need to be able to understand the problem, break it down and solve the problem given. Perseverance and organization are the keys and any good problem worth solving takes time. Return to Index

27 Significant Educator: Julie Jones A.P. Language & Composition and A.P. Literature & Composition, Gull Lake High School Nominating Student: Lance McCauley, Gull Lake Student comment: Mrs. Jones always ensures that all students in the classroom are actively engaged, which provides a vibrant, enriching learning environment. Through her careful guidance over several years, my writing has improved dramatically, and now is something that I am proud to share with others. This has equipped me to better compete in the world as I have gained valuable experience in public speaking skills, as well as being better able to express myself through writing. All of this I would not have been able to accomplish without Mrs. Jones' personal attention that she devotes to all of her students, no matter how many there are. Significant Educator comment: One of the best ways to meet the future prepared is to read, read, read -- for new knowledge, to expand and refine existing knowledge, and for pleasure. A solid combination of these will keep a person growing in mind and spirit, as well as enjoying the richness of our humanity as conveyed in writing. With such a balance, one should be ready to think, act, reflect, change course when necessary, and do it all again for a lifetime. Return to Index

28 Significant Educator: Catherine Kane Nominating Student: Jacob Walbridge, Gull Lake Student comment: Ms. Kane was my junior English teacher and had a huge impact on my writing skills. She appreciated my style and creativity while encouraging me in my language and technical writing skills. She always respected my unique perspective on life and fun loving character both inside and outside the classroom. She made learning English fun and was excellent in how she related with the students. She has been instrumental to my success in high school and her sincere support has given me confidence and motivation for the college chapter of my life. Return to Index

29 Significant Educator: Megan Kizer Nominating Student: Kennedy Clark, Loy Norrix Student comment: Mrs. Kizer is the kind of teacher who makes her students adorable Christmas ornaments out of her their old sticky note annotations. She makes obvious and loving sacrifices for her students. She is the master of balance. Her honesty and stories give high school a much needed sense of reality. While maintaining flexibility and spontaneity inside the classroom, Mrs. Kizer challenges her students by knocking down the conventions of learning and teaching. Her ability to foster understanding exists in her ability to make connections to her life and to the lives of her students and their existing knowledge and personal experiences. Her ability to foster deeper thinking allows her pupils to grow academically and intellectually. A student's opportunities are endless and open to interpretation because she values an individual's opinions, ideas, and creativity, and will work to turn these personal assets into successful academic work. Mrs. Kizer's lessons exceed the boundaries of a textbook and worksheets. Maintaining professionalism, Mrs. Kizer naturally builds personal connections with her students. Her humor, quirks, and personality never fail to create a casual and inviting atmosphere where the student feels appreciated not only for their academic endeavors but also for their character, talents, and eccentricity. She embraces the good and the bad, and works to cultivate the former and reform the latter by instilling a sense of personal responsibility. Despite her no-nonsense attitude, she remains a caring individual, never without a smile, a hug, or words of wisdom and endearment. Return to Index

30 Significant Educator: Kevin Langs Social Studies, Climax-Scotts Nominating Student: Janae Langs, Climax-Scotts Student comment: Although Mr. Langs is my father, he is also a significant educator in my success in school. His help goes beyond the classroom. He's continuously pushing me to do better and never settle for mediocrity. Mr. Langs isn't someone who only wants to be involved with my success, but also to help me through my struggles that sometimes occur. Significant Educator comment: I strive to educate the soul of the student beyond the pressures of standardized testing. My desire is for all students to be truly life-long learners. Return to Index

31 Significant Educator: Jodi Lugar-McManus Nominating Student: Sara Bliesener, Parchment Student comment: Mrs. McManus has been such a wonderful teacher to have in my life. She has been my Student Council adviser for the past four years and has been 200% committed to everything that the Student Council has taken on. She has taught me the true meaning of commitment and how to be a great, and dependable partner. And, of course, on top of that she has shown me my true leadership potential and has allowed me to exercise that potential in a plethora of situations. I sincerely appreciate all the hard work that she has put forth to help shape me into the person that I am today. Return to Index

32 Significant Educator: Theresa Mills Honors English 10/IB English 1, Portage Central High School Nominating Students: Matthew Schuen, Portage Central Elizabeth Sumner, Portage Central Student comments: Matthew Schuen : Mrs. Mills has helped me expand, not only as an English student, but as an intellectual. Under her teaching, she developed my ability to organize my ideas, think critically, and convey my thoughts. Without a doubt, Mrs. Mills has been an essential part of my development as a student. Elizabeth Sumner : Mrs. Mills, my tenth grade and eleventh English teacher has been my most inspiring teacher. She helped me grow, not just as a student, but as a person. Anything less than the best was not accepted in her class. For example, speeches, some of the most traumatizing things in high school, are where some kids would try to get away with saying as little as possible. We were required to present some very detailed speeches. To say that I despised public speaking was an understatement. After her classes, I am no longer terrified of public speaking. Next

33 Significant Educator: Theresa Mills Significant Educator comment: Every year the future seems like an abstract idea, but then I look at my students and I realize that the future is now. What I do in my classroom on a daily basis affects not only today or this week, but it affects tomorrow and all the tomorrows to come. I am blessed to be able to work with bright minds who have bright tomorrows ahead of them. And to help them ensure that their tomorrows stay bright, I encourage them to ruminate, discern, explore, play, write, read, and share. I hope they make connections, make friends, and make memories. Life in the classroom is but a moment in time, but it is a time that is powerful and impressionable. My students make an impression upon me daily, yearly. I am honored that I have been a part of their learning, their lives. Return to Index

34 Significant Educator: Ed Moreland Nominating Student: Jacob Storteboom, Galesburg-Augusta Student comment: Mr. Moreland is a great teacher that teaches math. I have had him for three years now and he is always pushing me to succeed. If I have a question he is always there to answer it. Plus during football season, he was like a coach to me, always giving me pointers and believing in me. He pushes me to be a better person with his teaching and advice he gives not only to me but other students. Return to Index

35 Significant Educator: Phyllis Pelletier Advanced Placement United States History, Gull Lake High School Nominating Student: Jeremy Simon, Gull Lake Student comment: Mrs. Pelletier's dynamic and exciting teaching style allows students of all levels to learn effectively and to retain information forever. Although Mrs. Pelletier teaches Advanced Placement United States History, she also has a knack for teaching students how to communicate elegantly and write proficiently. Her students become better orators and writers because of Mrs. Pelletier's brilliance as an instructor. She deeply cares about her student's personal lives as well as their education, and is known for taking the time to speak with students about their extracurricular activities. Teaching is not a job to Mrs. Pelletier; rather, it is a passion. Significant Educator comment: All students appreciate being asked to maximize their potential. Their sense of their own competency and growing understanding of their own promise are powerful motivators. Students thrive on challenge. They respect high-level expectations and respond with exemplary work. Their company is inspiring. When students think for themselves, everything is possible. Return to Index

36 Significant Educator: Brad Portis Chemistry and Advanced Placement Chemistry, Gull Lake High School Nominating Student: Elizabeth Lane, Gull Lake Student comment: Mr. Portis was one of the first faculty members I met when I entered high school and has since been one of the most influential. As a cross country and track coach, he pushed me beyond what I ever thought I was physically capable of. He also shaped me into an athlete that is passionate about her sport and is willing to dedicate herself to it in order to reach her goals. Becoming a student in his chemistry and advanced placement chemistry courses allowed me to see Mr. Portis in a different role. This made his impact on me even greater. Like running, these classes were far from easy, but he taught me better than anyone how to manage my time and priorities, how to not crack under pressure, and how to use my brain differently. He explained a puzzling subject in ways that I could comprehend and helped me discover a branch of science I actually enjoy, and may even pursue as a career. What I have appreciated most over the years is how Mr. Portis can make anyone he meets feel valuable. I did not have to be the top runner on the team nor receive the highest grade on a test in his class; he always recognized and reminded me of what I had accomplished. He has been strict and demanding of me when I need it most, but at the same time he is one of the most encouraging and sincere individuals I know. I will forever strive to attain even half of the qualities he possesses. I cannot thank Mr. Portis enough for his impact on my life and the mentor he has been to me. I wish I had more than four years to be a student and athlete of his, but I am certain that his countless lessons are ones I will carry with me throughout my life. Next

37 Significant Educator: Brad Portis Significant Educator comment: I realize that my students will face challenges in their future far greater than I can simulate in the classroom. I know that they will reach for goals that are far beyond what they can probably even imagine right now. I try to help my students achieve well beyond what they may have initially believed they could accomplish. I try to push them past their comfort zone but into an area that is still within their reach and very productive. This allows students to re-focus their future goals higher and more realistically. It also helps build self confidence and independent initiative that our young people will need when teachers and parents are no longer around. My goal is to build confidence by helping students test their limits, persevere and achieve. Elizabeth has herself academically and athletically. She does volunteer work and has a job. She is a super person not only because of her accomplishments and personality; but because she is willing to extend herself in order to grow. Elizabeth has been involved in myriad volunteer and community activities. It is students like Elizabeth who not only impress me; but inspire me to continue giving my best as they do. Return to Index

38 Significant Educator: Shannon Scoles Nominating Student: Lillian Slack, Loy Norrix Student comment: Shannon Scoles is a significant educator because she teaches with a passion for music. Any student willing to learn, and to practice, will thrive in her studio. She sees what a person will be capable of and helps to lead them toward their potential. From her I have learned that, if I apply myself, I can further my musical abilities and work towards a career that I love. Return to Index

39 Significant Educator: Michelle Simmons Nominating Student: Josh Ayres, Vicksburg Student comment: Mrs. Simmons had an impact on my education because in eighth grade she allowed me to stay after everyday to receive help and put forth extra time and effort in order to improve my education. She also helped show me how significant grades are which helped me get to where I am today. Return to Index

40 Significant Educator: Michael Sinclair Calculus, physics, geology, and astronomy, Kalamazoo Area Mathematics & Science Center Nominating Students: Steven Vorbrich, Loy Norrix Sujay Dewan, Portage Northern Student comments: Steven Vorbrich : Mr. Sinclair has taught me to love physics. I have always been curious of the world around me and Mr. Sinclair has continually satisfied my curiosity and made me hunger for more. I am more knowledgeable about the universe now than I was before and I will be more knowledgeable in the future than I am now. I never want to stop learning and being curious. I thank Mr. Sinclair for the fire that he has lit within me. Sujay Dewan : Mr. Michael Sinclair has been my instructor for 3 years, in AP Calculus, AP Physics, and Geology. His classroom greets students with the perfect balance of challenge, excitement, and curiosity. Not only have I loved his lively teaching mannerisms and memorable lessons, his participation in the KAMSC Cricket League, the Junior Engineering Technical Society Competitions, and Student Senate have been integral to my high school career. Mr. Sinclair's lessons, both within and outside the classroom, will undoubtedly serve me for years to come. Significant Educator comment: Show them all of the possibilities before them, encourage them to explore, demand the best, and get out of their way! Return to Index

41 Significant Educator: David Smith Nominating Student: Claudia Ramsey, Vicksburg Student comment: Mr. Smith is exactly the teacher for me. He always encourages and pushes me to do my very best not only in school but also in sports and work as well. He is very particular in the way he teaches, wanting to make sure that all his students are succeeding and receiving attention where it is due. For me, I had trouble with timed tests, so he would always time all my tests. Although it was difficult at times it has proven extraordinarily beneficial for college classes, advanced placement classes, and the ACT. However, Mr. Smith never forgets to constantly remind me of how excellent he believes I am and to always believe in myself and my capabilities. Lastly, he will not tolerate bullying, he makes sure that all of his students understand that it is not okay to judge others. This is one of his priorities in the high school because it is something that truly matters and can alter the lives of others. I can go to Mr. Smith for anything, he has made an outlasting impact on my education and who I am today. Return to Index

42 Significant Educator: Jon Taylor Chemistry, Portage Central High School Nominating Student: Scott Linder, Portage Central High School Student comment: Mr. Taylor is both a knowledgeable and engaged chemistry teacher. Both he and his wife, whom I had for a chemistry class two years ago, are always available for questions and do not hand down lessons without offering a deeper understanding of the material than is required by the course syllabus: when a student is having trouble understanding a concept, or wants to know more, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor are always there to help. I entered their classes with a cursory understanding of chemistry, but I leave with a deeper appreciation for it, for their teaching and for them. Return to Index

43 Significant Educator: Joseph Thorstenson chemistry and AP chemistry, Kalamazoo Mathematics and Science Center Nominating Student: Quinton Colwell, Portage Central High School Student comment: You don't need much to give much. I would be quite remiss to forget this. Thank you for the lessons you gave to me. I must mention the liquid carbon dioxide experiment... Return to Index

44 Significant Educator: Aimee Wendland English 11, 9, Reading Skills, Yearbook, Portage Northern High School Nominating Student: Kayla Morin, Portage Northern Student comment: In total, Mrs. Wendland has been a teacher of mine for three and a half years, so it is no wonder that she has been such a significant educator in my lifetime. She was my Computers teacher in seventh grade, as well as my volleyball coach, and has been the adviser for all three years I've been a part of the yearbook staff. Mrs. Wendland has helped me develop as a leader, and has taught me the value of empathizing with others, a skill at which she is a master. I am so grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to excel and help others do the same, and for all she has taught me along the way. Significant Educator comment: I challenge each student to reach his/her individual potential. Kayla has already achieved so much success in her life through her hard work, commitment, and dedication to what she deems important in her life. I have the utmost respect for this young woman, and I am excited to see what her future brings. Return to Index

45 Significant Educator: Kirk Wiersma Nominating Student: Maddy Carlton, Schoolcraft Student comment: While taking his biology class my freshmen year, Mr. Wiersma's enthusiasm for the sciences and the way he taught first sparked my interest in the science field. Throughout my time as his student he was always patient, encouraging and willing to take an extra moment to explain the more complicated concepts. I was fortunate to have him as my teacher and I know that many students to come will similarly appreciate his passion for teaching the sciences. Return to Index

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