Teachers have made a difference in the lives of many people.
During National Teacher Appreciation Week, we asked a few people to tell us how a teacher or teachers made a difference in their lives.
From former state senator Kelly Kultala: “My sixth grade teachers, we actually had two of them, Mr. Cakerice and Ms. Moran, challenged me, and they just really stuck with me. I just really enjoyed being in their class in sixth grade. My sister, my daughter, and my son-in-law are teachers, so we truly appreciate teachers in my family.”
From Cindy Cash, Kansas City, Kan., Chamber of Commerce president and CEO: “Mr. Russ Reimer, a high school biology teacher, made a difference in a lot of kids’ lives at Garden City East High School in Michigan. He ‘picked out’ and sometimes ‘picked on’ the quiet kids who could have gone either way in life. He gave one of those kids and me the opportunity to start our own business from setting up a corporation to hiring other kids to producing product to paying the bills and doing the paperwork. Obviously it has stuck with me all these years later.”
From Bob Evans, retired journalism teacher and freelance writer: “My high school journalism teacher, Dorothy Elliott at Washington High School, gave me my career. She taught me how to write the different types of stories, she instilled in me a love of writing and the written printed word, and she helped guide my way into the University of Kansas School of Journalism.”
From Dr. Jason Dandoy, director of finance and student services, Turner Public Schools: “Mr. Jones, my high school biology teacher, had small notecards posted throughout his classroom that simply said: ‘Do the right thing.’ I often think back about these simple words which always help when making difficult decisions. Thank you to Mr. Jones and all the teachers who help kids make the right choices.”
From Nozella Brown, Family and Consumer Sciences educator for Kansas State Research and Extension, Wyandotte County: "Mr. White, a first-year teacher, called me out into the hall in front of my sixth-grade class, a sign that I was in trouble. While I felt a little fear, silently I hoped that this would improve my sagging social status. Ever since kindergarten, my love for learning always seemed to interfere with my desire to be accepted by my peers. In the hall Mr. White showed me my recent spelling test on which almost all the words were spelled wrong. 'This is not your work,' he said. It was, and it wasn’t. I had purposely failed the test to avoid being singled out as a top speller. How did he know? It was as if he could see right through me. In the next few minutes he helped me see within myself. He taught me a new word, 'potential,' convincing me that my life purpose should never be sacrificed for a few moments of acceptance or pleasure. It was a turning point as I left the halls of grade school to enter the junior high school with greater challenges. I stayed the course, however, being the first in my family to go away to college and obtain a degree. My love for learning continues and I’ve never forgotten that talk from Mr. Barry White, now principal at Pembroke Hill School."
From Bridget McNabb, Hospitality Management Program Department, Johnson County Community College: “With all the teachers I have had in my lifetime, Mr. Icone, a middle school language arts teacher, was wonderful. We learned about words and composition of paragraphs and rhythmic writing by studying songs, and the final was a rock opera. He put it into a medium to which we, students, could relate. I will never forget that class or the great teacher.”
From Don Wolf, photographer: "After I graduated from high school, I was wasting time with some of my friends accomplishing nothing and had no goals.I lived on Strawberry Hill in a house that Dad paid $500 for in 1936. A friend of mine that I met while working at Hallmark Cards suggested that I look into Donnelly College. I never heard of Donnelly but I enrolled the following week. At this time in my life I had very low self esteem. I signed up for a class in Biology which I enjoyed in high school and when entering the classroom, took the very last seat in the back as not to be noticed. Sister Ligouri Sullivan was the teacher. When she took 'roll call,' she called out 'Mr. Wolf.' I said, 'Wow, that's me. I'm Mr. Wolf.' Something magical happened as I sat up straighter and paid attention and completed the class and others with very good grades.
"At the same time, another Benedictine nun, Sister Mary Faith, instructed me in English Composition. She had a way of correcting my homework by making me feel good about my errors and encouraging to try again and again and again. I just completed my first book called 'Croatian Love Story' which will go on sale in a few weeks. Could not do it without her. I graduated from Donnelly In 1956 and I am still thankful for the lessons learned which helped me be a successful photographer and businessman and author in Kansas City, Kan."
If there is a teacher who made a difference in your life, add your comment here, or better yet, send the teacher a thank-you note.