This time of year, our team always pauses to recognize the incredible role that teachers play in our communities. With school being back in full swing, our team members are shouting out some specific educators who made an impact on their lives.
Chances are, at least one name comes to mind for you as well. Big or small, there’s no ignoring the mark they left on your life. Even with a room bustling with questions and personalities, there they were—at the head of the class. Leading, day after day, with the kind of fortitude that isn’t easily swayed—that only rings truer the longer we’re outside of their classroom.
While we can never fully repay what our teachers gave us, we can share their stories. We can look back with gratitude, knowing our paths wouldn’t have been paved the same way without them. And we can thank them for following through again and again, for pushing us to be who they knew we could be all along.
We asked our staff to share the names of teachers who changed their lives for the better. Below, we’re highlighting a few of their stories:
I was in second grade and had broken my right elbow, so I was forced to write with my left hand—and my writing was not pretty. To make me feel better, Mrs. Bronstad made the whole class write with their non-dominant hand for the day, so we all had horrible penmanship together.
Lindsey Anderson, Commercial Kitchen Assistant Manager
Some of my favorite memories are from speech practice with him—which is interesting, considering I have extreme social anxiety. But he saw what I was capable of before I did. He helped me find myself.
Presley Tiger, Magnolia Press Barista
I’d tell him: Thank you for instilling in me a greater appreciation not just for history, but for life. Your career is impacting the next generation for the better, altering the history they’ll make with their own lives. You are teaching so much more than facts or dates, but values, character, and perspectives that will change the world. You inspire me, and I’m thankful to have you as a teacher for life, Dad!
Mackenzie Peters, Graphic Design Intern
She taught my kids during the year COVID closed our schools. That was difficult on so many levels, but Mrs. Jackson kept things light and stayed connected to my kids when they needed it most. She exemplified strength in a way that inspired them. If she was sitting in front of me right now, I’d tell her, “Your kindness matters. Thank you for who you are, to so many, year after year.”
Becki Goss-Shepherd, Chief Operating Officer: Food
From day one, she has shown endless support for me and my goals. It’s the simple memories I’ll never forget: like the long car rides to leadership camps or conventions, where we’d all just talk about our lives, the future, or just listen to music.
Cutter Braun, Visual Coordinator
My dad started working abroad while I was in high school, and one year, he couldn’t make it home for my dance team’s father-daughter performance. My high school choir teacher Mr. Riehle graciously agreed to participate with me—embarrassing choreography and all! I know lots of other students who’d describe him as “fatherly,” and I got to experience it firsthand. He’s just the best!
Hayley Zielke, Senior Writer
I was very shy when I was younger. One time in third grade, I spoke without raising my hand in class, and Mrs. Cartwright had to give me a written demerit. I spent all morning crying from embarrassment. But when we got back from recess that day, she brought the class treats to celebrate “Chelsea finding her voice.”
Chelsea Sentell, Recruiting Manager
I was teased in the same way a lot of kids get teased at school. I was shy and a little bit self-conscious anyway, and the kids’ comments and jokes only made me want to retreat further into my shell. But there was one person who always held my gaze, whose kind eyes always made me feel safe. Thank you, Ms. Primm.