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Mr. Hogan taught me that reading wasn’t enough: I needed to internalize and take good notes.

Mrs. Mac let me cry on her shoulder in the hallway. She made choir and orchestra a safe place to be myself.

Mrs. Anastacio gave me my first B. She looked me square in the eye and said, “you can do better.” So I did.

Dr. McCord made me memorize the names of important works of art. When I went to Europe for the first time, half the point was to see that art in person.

Sr. Heiner unapologetically dropped the great works of Spanish literature in front of me and said, “figure it out”.

Mme. Veal trusted me to work on my own and ask her questions when I needed to. In French.

Mr. Wolterstorff showed me that I didn’t need to feel ashamed of how much I love singing and music.

Ms. Hurley taught me that having big emotions affects people around you, and that it’s important to be responsible with them.

Coach Ackerman taught me that lifting weights isn’t just for guys who play sports.

Mrs. McGuinn rewarded my small insights and taught me that writing well is one of the most important skills anyone can practice.

Mr. Kelly taught me how to do calculus at 6:35 am every day of senior year.

These people were more than teachers to me. They were mentors, therapists, and coaches. They gave me permission to be who I was and helped me ask deeper questions of myself. They handed me information to struggle with and then stepped back so that I could discover what I’m made of. 

They’re the reason I’m a teacher today. Not because they helped me ace a test or get into college, but because they taught me that the most valuable thing I can know… is myself.