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

April 28, 2010
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There are many people employed within the field of education and many who take pride in what they do. As for being nominated Educator of the year, there is one woman who exemplifies what qualities one must demonstrate to achieve such a prominent honor. Through her years of experience and adoration for what she does, she is able to leave an impression within each of her students to follow them through further education and even into life after graduation. What began as my journey to gain experience in family counseling, resulted in me establishing a path for myself, as an adolescent into my early adulthood.
Mrs. Cathy Gongwer has been my teacher for both my sophomore and junior years in high school. She specializes in the area of Family Consumer Science and taught both my personal decisions and mentorship class. Through each of these, she’s not only influenced me but the lives of many other students involved.
In personal decisions my sophomore year, our focal point was the outcome of all of our decisions, attitudes and behaviors. I grasped the subject with immense pleasure because I knew these outcomes could be ones experienced by families’ seeking counseling. Mrs. Gongwer not only took an interest in the subject she was teaching but each of her students as well. She often conferred with me about my future in counseling and even allowed me to meet with her during free periods to discuss college courses and career options. Establishing the relationship with her that I did that year, I knew she would be someone who would contribute positively to the success of my future.
Her encouragement and support didn’t end at the sound of a dismissal bell. At the time I was approaching the age of sixteen and turning in applications for part-time employment. Sharing with her my new challenge of the application and interview processes, she asked me to convey with her any concerns I had. The following day, I brought in an incomplete application and presented it to her. She examined it and gave me immediate feedback. She always demonstrated constructive criticism to help guide her students but never made them feel limited by their quality of work. I completed my personal decisions class with a feeling of accomplishment, having gained confidence to be the person I was, participate in the actions I was taking, and most recent my process of branching out to employers.
My junior year I enrolled in the mentorship program through my school. It was a program that required a submitted application and approval of the application by the administrators. I was very pleased when I received my schedule validating that I had been accepted into the course. I was even more enthralled when Mrs. Gongwer’s name was printed under the course teacher section of my schedule. She had guided me towards success in the past and I knew she would the same.
I began the class contemplating between mentoring somewhere within a hospital following a physical therapist or at the police station shadowing an officer. I had quickly lost interest in the physical therapy and became discouraged when I was informed I was too young to shadow an officer. I had spoken with my parents and then Mrs. Gongwer, both who had seen my previous work, and they discussed with me a possible career in journalism. I had always loved to write and when I had inquired about the idea with Mrs. Gongwer, she told me she had kept pieces of mine that I’d written the year before. She said she would begin a search to find a mentor for me who could demonstrate the job of a journalist.

As she had in the past, she pulled through for me and placed me at the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council. She is an exceptional educator because at the time I had changed my mind from criminal justice to journalism, we had reached the half way point from when students were supposed to begin mentoring. She had other students yet to be placed and still continued to look for me. She isn’t a teacher that looks for the easiest solutions or one that does as little as possible to get through each day. Mrs. Gongwer has a passion for teaching and it reflects every day I spend in her class.

With her endless efforts and devotion towards her students, Mrs. Gongwer most definitely deserves to be proclaimed educator of the year. She is absolutely phenomenal in relating to students, guiding them, and preparing them for the future. Having no idea what I wanted for myself after completing high school, she has helped me and others to follow their passions, as she did hers, and given students the confidence to chase their dreams.

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JuneTaz said...
Nov. 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm
What a loving and supportive teacher you have! She's like a third parent to yu. I love your word choice and how your voice really empowers the explanations. Keep it up!
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