By: Nycole Stawinoga, Program Manager, Research and Communications

This week is National Teacher Appreciation week. When I think about all of the amazing teachers I had growing up, I am very grateful.

I appreciate my first grade teacher, Mrs. Godfrey, for her encouragement. When I began first grade, I didn’t know how to read. With Mrs. Godfrey’s encouragement, not only was I reading by the end of first grade, but I didn’t want to stop! My love for reading, books and knowledge came from Mrs. Godfrey.

I appreciate my third grade teacher, Mrs. Cameron, for teaching me to say “I can” instead of “I can’t.” That year I struggled with math. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, math and I just didn’t click. Mrs. Cameron stayed after school with me every day to help me with math. With her support, I improved in math and believed that I could do anything I put my mind to.

I appreciate my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Cole Bethany, for challenging me to always learn more. Whenever I finished an assignment early, Mrs. Cole Bethany was right there with more challenging questions to answer or more challenging projects to complete.

I appreciate my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Summers, for helping me succeed. At the conclusion of our poetry unit, we were tasked with writing original poems. I spent days writing and rewriting my poem before turning it in. What I didn’t know was that Mrs. Summers submitted our poems in a poetry contest, and my poem was selected for publication. With Mrs. Summers’ help, I successfully became a published author in fifth grade!

I appreciate my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Freed, for believing in me. Each year, the sixth grade class performed a play for the entire school. As a quiet student, I auditioned for a non-speaking role. Mrs. Freed thought I was capable of more and gave me a speaking part in the play. Performing in the play helped build my confidence and is my favorite memory from sixth grade.

I am extraordinarily lucky to have had such incredible teachers in my life. They taught me invaluable lessons. They demonstrated incredible kindness. They provided me with a high quality education that opened doors that have led to tremendous opportunities. Without their support and encouragement, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.