Educator of the Year This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

“I just got off the phone with your English teacher,” my mom said hesitantly. “It was about our family vacation?” She seemed slightly stunned. She had just spoken with my English 11 teacher, Greg Budzien. He had taken the initiative of calling my house to persuade my parents on a personal situation, not school related in the slightest. My mom had been reluctant to let me travel to Manhattan with the family, but Mr. Budzien helped convinced my mom that this was an experience I could not miss out on. He told her he had been there several times, and that it was not nearly as dangerous it might seem. The best part was I didn’t even ask him to. He just did it.

Mr. Budzien is a teacher unlike any other I’ve had throughout my schooling. On the first day of class, he was able to bring the class to pin drop silence with anticipation towards what he would say next. From there, he nearly put everyone in tears from laughter. I had never seen a teacher control a class of high school students the way Mr. Budzien did. I left with a strong sense of admiration for my new English teacher. I left knowing it was going to be a great semester.

As the semester progressed, I learned participation in class discussions weren’t encouraged, they were mandatory. It wasn’t just for some grade; he was able to get anyone and everyone to voice their opinions. It was a true gift. I had always enjoyed reading and English, but he managed to make it enjoyable for those who didn’t.

One thing I cherished the most from his class, were his tangents. He seemed to have lived such a rich life, filled with experiences he wanted nothing more than to share with his students. We would occasionally lose an entire planned day to hearing one of his stories, or some current event that had been on his mind. It certainly wasn’t because he was unprepared; he knew on certain days things such as this would be more valuable than reading from a textbook.

Mr. Budzien managed to motivate an entire class of high school students to succeed, while at the same time making it one of my most enjoyable experiences at school. The amount I learned in one semester is unrivaled by any other teacher or class. It was simply unique having an educator that was not only a teacher, but a role model too.





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