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Educator of the Year
I was the first student in first hour on the first day of sophomore year at Arrowhead High School. I took a seat in the front, continuously checking the time on my phone, hoping more students would quickly join. “Good morning and happy first day of school!” I look up from my phone to be enthusiastically greeted by Mrs. King. She started asking questions about my summer and what I was looking forward to in the new school year. I became more relaxed, feeling as if I had known her for years.
My first interaction with Mrs. King was in Health Occupations. She is experienced, enthusiastic, and above all else, encouraging. For example, one assignment in Health Occupations is to shadow a professional in the medical field. It can be a challenge to get into contact with a health professional who is willing to let you shadow them. Many times there are unreturned emails and phone calls. Mrs. King encouraged all of her students to call, rather than email, follow up, and offered students to use her classroom phone to make calls during their studyhalls. Students learned to not only give up when there were unanswered phone calls and unreturned emails, but to stay consistent at trying and to open up to new sources. With Mrs. King’s continuous help and follow ups, everyone in the class completed a job shadow and gained a real life experience, introducing them to what could become a normal day in their future.
As my sophomore year was coming to an ending, I applied and was accepted into the Youth Health Apprenticeship. This program is for students with a passion to work in the medical field. Arrowhead High School pays for the accepted students to become certified nursing assistants at Waukesha County Technical College.
Mrs. King is the advisor for this two year program. Requirements of the Youth Health Apprenticeship include finding a job and logging 900 hours as a CNA, becoming CPR certified, and gaining experience. As soon as I was accepted, I was congratulated by Mrs. King and celebrated the next two years with a party, including the upperclassman graduating from the program. I appreciated this party because I was reassured I could do it. I wouldn’t have been selected if Mrs. King didn’t believe in me. I felt supported, and more motivated and excited than ever before.
Mrs. King has been there every step of the way for my journey in the apprenticeship. She checked in how the class was going, when my test was, where I wanted to apply for a job, how to prepare for an interview, how many hours I have logged. The list goes on. I am thankful for this, as I learned how crucial it is to stay ahead and not fall behind. It amazes me how the program has grown, accepting more students each year; and yet, Mrs. King still makes each individual feel as they are the only ones, with her complete, full attention and dedication.
My junior year, Mrs. King became the advisor of a new club at Arrowhead, HOSA. HOSA is an acronym for Health Occupation Students of America, a club for Future Health Professionals. Along with 10 other students, I was eager to join. As a new chapter we attended leadership conferences, planned events, and learned more about health topics that interested us. Over spring break when all students and teachers had off school, Mrs. King drove me and one other student to attend HOSA State at The Wisconsin Dells. Here I competed in two events, both that made top ten, and one qualifying for Nationals. The competitions and seminars at State were interesting and enjoyable. I would never would have had this opportunity or success without Mrs. King. Without Mrs. King’s eagerness and willingness to attend, I would have missed out on so much; from this, I have learned how important it is to try new activities, and branch out. I had so much fun at State, and one day want to help other students have the experience Mrs. King helped me have.
My senior year, I am enrolled in the Health Practicum, a class taught by Mrs. King. I am also President of HOSA. In the Health Practicum, students complete large projects on specific topics, allowing us to get a full understanding of a topic. This class is also flexible at the end of the day, allowing us to leave for work if necessary. As president of HOSA, I work very closely with Mrs. King. By the second meeting of the year we had over 50 new members. The whole classroom was full of smiles and excitement. The increase in enrollment has been rewarding, as the more members, the more we can give back to the community and the larger impact we can make. Mrs. King and I talk everyday on ideas we have for future events and how we can implement them. I enjoy working so closely with Mrs. King because she’s just as excited as I am, always listens to every idea I have, and always willing to try something new. She makes me feel important, and helps me live my dreams.
Mrs. King is special because she’s positively passionate about what she does. Her passion leads her to think nonstop about students and how she can help them learn and have fun. I have never met a teacher so dedicated to each and every one of her students. She is like a fairy that sprinkles a little of her passion on each of her students, making all of us eager to learn.
She is constantly looking for new opportunities for her students and apprenticeship members. She continuously checks in with our employers and meeting with them to ensure they are a quality facility for her students to work at. She not only ensures we are not having problems in her class or apprenticeship, but also makes sure our other classes are going well.
Besides being a teacher or an advisor, Mrs. King is a friend. If I walk into her classroom smiling, she wants to know why and celebrate with me. She takes the time to listen when I’m quiet, and provides me with the best advice. We celebrate the beginning of each week with “Munchie Monday,” where one student brings in a snack to share. Fridays we try to spend half of the block class doing something to help relieve stress including yoga or talking outside on warm days. Mrs. King knows how to keep us engaged and passionate about health careers by playing documentaries, inviting guest speakers, creating body parts out of clay, and even dissecting a pickle.
I nominate Mrs. Brenda King for this award because she has not only shaped who I am now, but has also helped shape my future. She has provided me with countless opportunities that have helped me become more outgoing and passionate for working with people. Mrs. King is more than teacher of the year, she is teacher of my high school career, because she has been by my side, supporting me, all throughout high school. Thank you Mrs. King for everything you have done for me, and continue to do.