Ever since I was a kid, science class has been right up my alley. Throughout grade school, my days each got a little bit better whenever I would have science. It wasn't all about the teachers or the students in my class, I just loved all the topics it covered.
That was until the final trimester of sixth grade, when I had to prepare for the transition of 7th and 8th grade on the second floor of Merton Intermediate. When I got my schedule for 7th grade I asked my 8th grade brother Josh how each of the teachers were. Naturally he singled out a bunch of them as being awful, just like any encouraging and supportive brother would do. But then my last hour of the day was science class, and he had nothing but astounding things to say about Mr. Rheineck.
When the time came and the school year was right around the corner, I couldn't wait to see if Mr. Rheineck lived up to his name. He was a shooting star, full of brilliance and passion. From the minute I stepped in those navy blue lined doors, he was goofy and super conversational. He could break down any concept and make it easily digestible for anyone. He allowed us to let our minds run wild to wherever they wanted. On projects, labs and assignments, they were all so simple and a blast to do. As if my love for science class wasn't enough, this put me over the top in pursuing my future career involving environmental biology.
I soon got hit by a train sophomore year when I attempted to take honors chemistry. The class was rigorous and moved quickly. Despite the fact that the teacher was not my favorite and even with the resources from a 8th grade biology unit, I struggled. Then one day, to my disbelief, I hear a, ”Good afternoon Thomas” from a too familiar voice. Mr. Rheineck was sitting at the front lab station as if I never left Merton Intermediate. And as he began to sub for my teacher, the concepts and helpful hints he used to teach us back in 8th grade popped back in my head. Thus giving me the thrust to push til the end of the semester.
After that hour ended and it was time to go home, myself and a few others went up to Mr. Rheineck and caught up with him about his retirement. He said it was one of the most challenging things he'd ever done. To drop being a full time science teacher and seeing his students everyday to absolutely nothing. As a solution, he became a part time sub at Arrowhead and Kettle Moraine. I showed him my notes I kept from 8th grade and his eyes lit up. When I went home that day I realized how thankful I’m for having someone as impactful as Mr. Rheineck in my life.
Like I said before, the amount of passion Mr. Rheineck had for his job made it nearly impossible to tell that it was his job. The lessons learned went beyond science class, he taught us how to improvise and use our imaginations. That is why I chose Mr. Rheineck for this award. He has been so impactful in the past and still continues to be even to this day.