Graduating Senior Writes of – and to – The Teachers Who Helped Her Along the Way

I’m graduating from college in less than four months, and I definitely didn’t do this all on my own. My parents, grandparents, and extended family have provided endless support to me throughout my academic career. My friends and mentors have been there for me to celebrate my successes and encourage me to continue. But the more that I think about how I actually got to Drury, the more I realize that I have my high school teachers to thank for being here. For so many different reasons, I am so grateful to my teachers for the roles that they’ve played in my life and they are largely responsible for getting me here.

Lately, I’ve been procrastinating on other projects in order to write individualized graduation invitations to some of my high school teachers that really impacted my life, and I thought that I would share some of those on this blog as a thank you to anyone who has been a professor or a teacher. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, and many of us still think about the great gifts that you’ve given us long after we graduate.

Dear Mrs. Campbell,

I’m an English and writing major, in part, because of junior honors English. I will never forget our first day of class, and you stood in front of us and said, “If you’re used to being spoon-fed in an English class, you don’t belong here.” I came home and told my mom that I needed to move out of the honors class because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough to be there. She wouldn’t let me out of the class, and I was so glad that I stayed.

You taught me what it meant to read closely. You taught me how to connect to literature in a way that I had never experienced before. I am eternally grateful to you for teaching me how to really fall in love with a character that I don’t have anything in common with. Still to this day, I think about the conversations we had about Ethan Frome and I realize that that was the first time I really learned how to talk about art.

Thank you for every way you inspired me in class, and thank you for thinking of me for the PEO scholarship. That was such a financial game changer for me when I went to Drury, and it meant the world to me that you believed in me enough to help me apply for a national scholarship.

You are a person that I will always respect and I’m so glad I got to learn from you. Thank you for the role you had in molding my education and thank you for encouraging me to keep going.

Dear Mr. Weilert,

Part of the reason that I transferred from my Christian school was so that I could join your top 1%, well respected debate and forensics team. I have never been as intimidated as when I stepped in your classroom for the first time. You didn’t coddle me and you didn’t accept mediocrity: you challenged me. I had to earn my place on your team, and you taught me what it meant to commit to something and stick with it.

You didn’t have time to deal with people who weren’t going to try, so it meant the world to me when you started to talk to me like I had potential. You didn’t throw around compliments, so when you told me I could do something, I knew that you meant it.

You were tough, but you convinced me that I could be someone if I put the time and work in. “Good is the enemy of great” has been the motto that I have carried with me since I was 15, and it is the reason that I’m graduating with three majors and a minor in four years. You’re the reason that I tried in high school. Because of that, I got into a great college, worked my ass off, and I’m doing something with my life (hopefully).

You changed me from a person who was smart and lazy to a person who works hard and achieves. I owe you all the thanks in the world for what you’ve done for me as a person and what you’ve taught me.

As a principal, I know you’re impacting even more lives than when you were a coach. But you were a damn good coach and I wouldn’t trade the two years that I had working with you for anything.

Thank you.

Dear Ms. Croan,

You are the only math teacher that I have ever had to who really knew how to explain math in a way that actually made sense. I will never forget being miserable about geometry, and then talking to you during seminar. You sat me down and taught me the problem the way that you taught me in class, and I didn’t understand. And then you were able to teach me the same problem from lots of different perspectives until you found a way to teach me in a way that I understood. You probably explained that one problem five or six times, and I can’t even express how much I really appreciated that extra effort that you put into my education. Not every teacher could do that.

You were always one of the coolest. Thank you for your help getting me here.