Educator of the Year | Teen Ink

Educator of the Year

May 8, 2018
By Anonymous

Dear Mrs. Wally,


In my creative writing class I have the privilege to write a letter of appreciation to an educator who I am thankful for, and you came to my mind. I know I kind of wrote one before, but my writing was a small cursive-manuscript handwriting I am sure may have been hard to read, as well that it didn’t say everything I wanted to say since it was quite brief. As we approached the end of confirmation, I wanted to thank you for the time you put into the program.


When I first entered the confirmation program, I was unsure of what to expect. My siblings said it was quite something. “Good luck” or “Have fun,” they sarcastically said. That made me nervous when I went to my first meeting. But from then on, my life changed.


Everything throughout the past three years has touched me so much. I even remember going to the summer outreach camp and going to Saratoga Heights to help with yardwork and later gathering in a group and singing “Open My Eyes” by Jesse Manibusan. That showed me a glimpse on what the next three years would be like. Little did I know how greatly it would impact my life.


I remember driving to mobile homes and helping rake the leaves for those who may have had arthritis or other conditions. I remember watching an activity at church where people taped their hands to experience what arthritis was like. I remember when we were raking leaves, that one of the ladies came out to join us as a way of saying thanks. I remember going to sophomore retreat and watching the witness talks and watching the violinist and Erika sing “We Are” by Kari Jobe.


Of course, something I will never forget, is the South Dakota mission trip! Every single person who was on that trip made it as memorable. And if one person hadn’t gone who was there, it wouldn’t have been the same. I’m so thankful for all the leaders that were on that trip. They all did a wonderful job and made the trip so memorable! I’ll always cherish the LGG and our church group time. I loved singing the songs like “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United or “How He Loves” by David Crowder Band. Or- listening to “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) - Live by Hillsong Worship or “At The Cross” by Chris Tomlin during the night of the footwashing, to name a couple. Everything from playing with the kids from Kids Club to painting the fence and community center to worshiping Him altogether to getting to know everyone more to having great leaders who pray for us has truly greatened my relationship with Him. The mission trip is one of my favorite experiences I’ve ever had. I also look forward to the one to Kentucky this June!


Something else I will always be thankful for is the junior retreat. I often think back on it and wish I could go back in time and be there again. I loved watching the backstory about Micah Tyler and his song “Different.” The witness talks were also eye-opening and reminded me again that He is there even through the darkest times.


The confirmation program had an enormous impact in my life and I know I’ve grown since I was a freshman. Getting to know each other, growing in faith, and having a leader who inspired me is a huge privilege I’ll always be thankful for. When it was small group time, the stories told had opened my eyes and encouraged me to share some of my stories. I am also thankful that I got to hear your stories about your faith journey and about your work outside of the program.


I often look back on the stories you told and how brave you were and are. Honestly I wouldn’t be here without your involvement in the program. The stories you told opened my eyes on what you do on a daily basis. Also, I want to sincerely thank you for the work you do as a Waukesha County Sheriff. The story you told to our small group  about the girl is instilled in my memory. I cannot imagine how that situation felt. I hate to bring it up, but the stories that you told, I could relate to them, specifically the Somewhere Over the Rainbow story. That is something I have never said.  Something I thought I would have never told you. I can’t believe I’m saying this, that I’m telling you this. It gives me shivers just saying it. I’m sorry I never said anything about it. I didn’t want to scare you. Some things throughout the past three years were hard with certain people and I felt like I couldn’t do anything about it. Like it was my fault. I also had two friends who felt the same way. One really good friend went to Rogers after a failed attempt, the other one also tried to commit on New Year’s Eve. My cousin contemplated the idea as well. I had a friend tell me she thought about and tried to do it as well when she was in 7th grade. As scary those situations were for two of my friends and cousin, it encouraged me to be positive for them and to look at the good things in the world. When I supported them, it reminded me that it was going to be okay. Just a few days ago marked the one year anniversary when my friend went to Rogers. I could see how much has changed and how happy she is now. She is faithful and has inspired me a lot. The confirmation program has truly reminded me that everything happens for a reason and that He is always there. I’ll also remember hearing that in His plan, that the answer is either a yes, no, or the “I have something better in mind”. I’ve learned that I’m stronger than whatever comes my way. Because I can do it with Him. The program has changed me and I could never imagine myself in that situation now. You made the program memorable and very impactful. It wouldn’t have been the same without a leader who showed us strength in faith and the selfless love to help others.


Whenever we got into small groups for meetings, I was always comfortable to share a story because it was a safe space. Throughout all the time our group spent knowing each other, I could see how dedicated and devoted you were to help us and lead us to Him. Your cheerful willingness to help others inspired me to help others.


Anyways, everything you have done have greatly impacted me in ways that I wouldn’t have thought possible. Thank you for being there for me and for being a great and supportive leader!



Maria F.

The author's comments:

A confirmation leader who has inspired me to be positive and to stay strong! She is also very brave- she is a sheriff!

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