My Teacher Essay For 2nd Class Citizen

Why I Became a Teacher – An Essay on Global Citizenship

Beth Marshall is a French Teacher and World Languages Dept. Chair at Riverbend High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia. As a world languages educator, she is passionate about not only teaching her students languages but helping them evolve as global citizens in order to help a more globally conscious world and society.

“Why would you want to be a teacher?” is a question I’m asked often when I say I teach high school French. Many adults can’t fathom the idea of standing in front of thirty or more hormonal teenagers every day. It’s also a question I ask myself particularly often during those last long weeks of the school year in May, during those final exams and standardized tests. I also am reflecting on this again I prepare to go back to school in a few days. I definitely know the overall purpose of my French class is NOT for them to have memorized the verb “to be” in nine tenses by the end of the year, to be able to list the capitals and countries of the francophone world or to identify all the colors…it’s much more than that.

My purpose as a teacher is to give students the tools to communicate with others and connect in a positive way in the target language in our world today. It’s using current events articles, literature, and videos to open their eyes to a new perspective of the global world. Frank Smith said, “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” Good teaching is challenging them to think of themselves as citizens of the world, and the understanding that they’ll grow up in a world that is more connected than ever. Woodrow Wilson said “We are citizens of the world. The tragedy of our times is that we do not know this.” My goal as a teacher is to not repeat this with the next generation. If my students walk out of my classroom in 180 days and have a better awareness of who they are as global citizens of this world and have the tools to make positive connections in a second language, then my teaching has been a success.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Global Citizens

When I decided to talk to my classes about global citizenship this past year, one of the most powerful moments was brainstorming what the word “citizen” meant to them. Many explained to me the word citizen represented an obligation, or an expectation to be an important part of a group, thereby calling them to be aware of how important their actions were in our world today. If I was to create a chocolate factory here in Virginia (one of my own personal dreams!) and I dumped all the waste from my factory into the water, this would not only have a horrible impact on the town but also our Canadian neighbors to the north, our Mexican neighbors to the south, and eventually oceans across the globe. It is my calling as a global citizen to understand the impact of my own actions. The boundaries written on a map between our countries do not stop at that border with what we say or do. As our discussion evolved, I saw many heads in the class nodding in understanding. This was a powerful conversation, and probably much more interesting than when to use the imparfait versus the passé composé!

Another powerful discussion centered around a video we watched in which people across the globe were interviewed as to what rights we all have as citizens of the world. Some of the rights given to everyone on this earth just by being born included the right to live in a tolerant world with clean water, lack of poverty, a sustainable environment, and justice for all citizens. What an amazing thought…that everyone, just by being born, has rights. The sad fact is that some people are denied these rights depending on where they were born. We, as global citizens, have an obligation to fight for these rights. Many students also noted that even in the most remote and poverty-stricken parts of the world, kids their age were playing soccer. No matter where we come from, we enjoy some of the same things. We are all human beings, and we all belong to the human race. These were some powerful conversations!

Some students asked me “Pourquoi est-ce qu’on fait cela dans notre classe, Madame?” Why are we doing this in French class, Madame?” Obviously the idea of global citizenship can be a powerful discussion in science or social studies class as well, but how does this tie into a language class? As a French teacher, it is extremely important for me to show how learning a language ties into being globally aware. For me, it is connecting every lesson I do to our global world. It is bringing the French-speaking world into our classroom, where we can play with the language, explore the visual and culinary arts, and we can talk about how history has shaped the people of the francophone world.

Forging Connections

When we do listening comprehension, sometimes I use music videos to introduce new vocabulary. Students are sometimes shocked to hear that rap from Stromae, a Rwandan-Belgian singer, can be just as interesting as the music that they are listening to at home. To practice their speaking skills, we sometimes Skype with a classroom in France. We take writing assignments and give it a real-life purpose by making them pen-pal letters to our sister school, using vocabulary about their leisure time activities for them to compare and contrast life as a teen in the United States to life as a teen in France. These meaningful connections make current events so much closer to home; it becomes personal to them. When the attacks happened in Paris this past November, the first question that the students had was if our sister school was safe. When they wanted to make a sign to share their sorrow with their pen pals, I knew that we had achieved interconnectedness.

After talking with my classes about what issues we face in today’s world as global citizens, we then moved on to the last topic of what can we do to face these challenges. Travel was mentioned as part of many students’ action plan, which warmed my heart. To me, taking students abroad is the pinnacle of why I teach. It was on a student trip almost thirty years ago to Europe that opened my eyes to the world outside of my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. This curiosity led me to study abroad at the University of Paris in college and lastly to become a language teacher, leading my own trips with students.

There is no greater joy for me as a teacher than to watch my students use the language skills we have practiced daily in class to order a sandwich, to ask for directions to the nearest restroom, or to read a sign on the streets of Paris. As much fun as travel can be, (because who doesn’t love a Paris sunset?) there is more to travel than fun. It is to open the students’ eyes to possibilities, to show them how another culture can be so different yet so similar to their own all at the same time, to show them they can get on that plane, waving goodbye to their parents, and come back a more confident young person 10 days later. It is to start a small fire of a passion for travel that you hope leads to them either studying abroad in college, or even moving to another country in the future. It is giving them the confidence to try to communicate for the first time. Most importantly, it is showing them that they are connected to the world around them, and that it is going to be imperative in the 21st century that they understand how to communicate in a respectful way with others in order for our world to continue.

The World in Their World

What about those students who will never leave their hometown? (or their parents’ basements, for that matter?) Why would they need to learn a language? Will they ever use the French language that I have taught them? It is almost more important that this group who will not have opportunities to travel be able to understand the concept of “It isn’t weird; it’s just different” in regards to cultural differences. This group will more than likely still communicate in another language…some without ever leaving their own homes. Our computers and cell phones allow businesses to communicate with our global world, and it is going to be an important skill to be able to make connections with business partners and be respectful of their differences as our students navigate through their careers. It is my hope that these students will remember to use “vous” instead of “tu” and maybe get rid of the stereotype that all Americans only care about their own culture.

So, now we have educated the students, and they walk out our doors at the end of their four years of high school …what can this knowledge and understanding do for the world of tomorrow? It is my personal hope that I have planted an idea of “what if” within them that will lead them to helping our world become a better version of what it is now. Maybe some of them will join the Peace Corps, or become active in social reform in our own country or abroad. Perhaps even a few will inspire others to change the perspective of American citizen to a global citizen. If I have inspired students to seek out ways to make the world a better place, then I have done my job as a teacher.

This past week, I received a Facebook message from a family who was involved in an exchange with our sister school this past year. It was a ton of work, and I questioned myself “Why am I doing this?” many times during the exchange. After one of my student’s families at our school hosted two French girls this past fall, her American family traveled to France this summer to visit both girls. After the American family returned back from their visit to France, the mother of my student wrote: “Having just returned from our reciprocal visit, it’s very clear why these two (French students) are such a joy…their families are just wonderful! They took such good care of us and although (some of) our French is non-existent, communication was not a problem. We loved every minute…Thank you again, and in the future, if you get overwhelmed or feel like it is not worth it to go through the hassle of arranging something like this again, remember that although it might not be the same for everyone, relationships are built and lives are enriched through your efforts. At least ours were and continue to be.” This week when I start back to school, I will be working to create global citizens…one relationship at a time. So, next time I am asked “Why would you want to be a teacher?”, I have an answer.

This week when I start back to school, I will be working to create global citizens…one relationship at a time. So, next time I am asked “Why would you want to be a teacher?”, I have an answer.

What drives you as a teacher and inspires you to keep on going? Let us know in the comments section below!


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This article first ran in Language Magazine in September of 2016.

Student and Staff of the Month

Each month every building will have an "Outstanding" student that we will recognize in different areas of our curriculum. All our students are special, but we want to toot our horn about a few each month..
Well done Greyhounds!


May -All Around Scholar/Most Improved Scholar

 Front row: Bryanna Wing, Devyn Winkleman, Tessa Wisham, Lydia Mazurek, Logan Miller, 
Back Row: Haley Johnson-Pizano, Cooper Jones, Liam Boomer, Lexi Hallenbeck, Xin Dong, Brendan Driksna



Greyhound Central Elementary

Student: Devyn Winkelman
Nominated by: Amy Crittenden
Parents: Suzann & Kurt Winkelman

It is my pleasure to nominate Devyn Winkelman for "All-Around Scholar".  Devyn is a very responsible, motivated and confident student.  She comes to school every day with an excitement for learning and a dedication for going above and beyond at school.  Devyn pays close attention to details and makes sure that her daily work is not only accurate, but also meticulously neat and of the utmost quality.  She excels in all the subject areas and I especially am impressed with her writing and accompanying illustrations!  
In addition to her academic excellence, Devyn is also a model student who sets a positive example for her peers.  Her work ethic and focus on doing well is an inspiration to her classmates and has earned herself a leadership role in the classroom where students often seek her help with various tasks/schoolwork throughout the day.   Devyn is a wonderful young lady and it has been my privilege being Devyn’s kindergarten teacher!


Greyhound Central Elementary

Student: Bryanna Wing
Nominated by: Susan Wilke
Parents: Rockney and Ashley Wing

Bryanna Wing:  Bryanna started kindergarten as a very shy 4 year old.  She picked up EVERYTHING that I presented and was always very interested in learning everything that was taught.  She picked up on social skills very quickly and is always a good friend to all.  She went from being at risk and getting extra help in PUP time to  my top group.  She is now a fluent reader,  a beautiful writer, an interested math student, and an assertive friend and student.  I have really enjoyed watching her progress.  Congratulations on being our Most Improved student.


Lockwood Elementary School

Student: Logan Miller
Grade: 2nd Grade
Nominated by: Melissa Riley
Parents: Andrew & Kelly Miller

It has been a pleasure to have Logan in my class this year.  He is an excellent student and has demonstrated strong academic understanding in all subject areas.  He gives his very best at everything everyday.  He is a wonderful example to all his classmates of the BARK expectations.  He is very interested and involved in all our classroom discussions.  Logan always has very insightful comments.  His commitment to hard work and strong academics makes him our All Around Scholar.

Student: Brendan Driksna
Grade: 2nd Grade
Nominated by: Pam Mead
Parents: Dana Driksna

Brendan has faced many challenges in his young life.  Most recently he has worked very hard to improve his fluency and accuracy in reading.  He has been excited to chart his progress during his Pup Time and small group time.  He enjoys reading and working with his friends in Montessori time.  He is a good friend to others and sensitive to caring for peers.  It is wonderful to see how much Brendan has grown over his time in Montessori.  We are delighted to recommend him for our Most Improved student!  

Greyhound Intermediate School

Student: Lydia Mazurek
Grade: 4th
Nominated by: Stephanie Brown
Parents: Steven and Lisa Mazurek

If I could legally clone Lydia Mazurek I would! Lydia is respectful, responsible, and reliable and not just in regards to her own school work. She helps take care of her younger siblings at home and often assists her classmates. She has willingly given up her lunch recess to help her peers complete assignments. Not many 4th graders would do that! Also, while I'm doing small group reading instruction, she's one of the few students who can quietly help others! At times, I won't even realize she's out of her seat! That is also unusual, but she manages to do it.
   Lydia is a natural leader, but she does it in such a subtle way. She truly leads by quiet example. She's become the unofficial student to go to if there's a question and I'm working with someone. Her classmates know they can ask her and she'll be able to answer them. Another job she has taken on is being my "checker" in math class. If I goof something up, which occasionally happens, I can count on her to point it out. Plus, she's always super polite about it. Furthermore, Lydia writes daily what we do each day and what may be homework in the absent student planner. That's in addition to completing her own planner. It's something those who have been absent really appreciate.
     Taking her academics seriously is important to her. It doesn't matter what subject it is. Her study skills are spectacular and she pays attention very well. For instance, she could likely look at these paragraphs and pick out my alliteration examples and transition words. Rarely does she have late or missing work. Throughout the year she regularly made the "honor roll".  At the end of each quarter students in my  class who have no late or missing work get to pick things from my Treasure Box. They can choose 1 item for every subject area. I don't think she ever received less than 5 items, which is outstanding.
   It seems she learned the secret to success early on because her prior teacher informed me she was also doing these things in 3rd grade. While there is no doubt she is a determined young lady, she also knows when it's ok to have fun. That's an important life lesson. Lydia is the epitome of a well rounded student.
     She should be proud of herself. I thank her for her efforts this year and I can't wait to see what she does with her tremendous talents. I'm confident she will go far in life! It is for the above reasons that I nominated Lydia Mazurek for All Around Scholar.
  However, I firmly believe these habits started at home with her parents. Her Dad, who works for the Lansing Fire Department, even took the time to come to our classroom with his gear to talk about fire safety! So, I'd like to thank them as well for raising such a dedicated, hard working and caring child. It's been a pleasure to work with Lydia this year.

Greyhound Intermediate School

Student: Tessa Wisham
Grade: 4th
Nominated by: Carl Fangboner
Parents: Casey Wisham

It is my pleasure to recommend Miss Tessa Wisham as “Most Improved Student Scholar” for the 2016-2017 school year.Tessa is a 4th Grade student in my homeroom at Greyhound Intermediate School. She has come so far this year in her abilities as a student. Here are just some of her accomplishments so far this year:

She has increased her reading fluency from around 80 words per minute read to over 120 words to minute.

Her DAZE test reading comprehension scores have now doubled from October and have passed the end of the year goal.

Her Reading Street test scores keep improving. On the last two major tests she has earned “A’s” on them. This is even more impressive when you consider she is a Title I Reading student.

In Math she has passed all of her basic math fact tests and is now earning some A’s on quizzes and tests.

On the Star Math Test she made a half year’s growth in just the first 3 months.

In Spelling she has raised her average up one whole grade.

In Social Studies she has raised her grade up to an “A”.

Tessa is much more than an improved academic scholar.  She starts and ends each day with a smile. She is patient and tolerant of others. With confidence she asks questions to get more understanding in class. She applies the skills that she has learned. She is willing to help others without being asked. She always has nice things to say about other people. She spends one lunch time a week with a special education classmate as a “Lunch Buddy.  Tessa is an excellent representative of our school, Greyhound Intermediate School and of the Eaton Rapids School District as a whole. I highly support Tessa Wisham as “Most Improved Student Scholar” for 2016-2017.

School: Eaton Rapids Middle School

Student: Liam Boomer
Grade: 7th
Nominated by: Staff
Parent: David and Laura Boomer

Liam always goes above and beyond on his assignments.  He takes his time to think about his answers and provide the most detailed answers he can.  He works well with everyone and really tries to include and help struggling students participate and understand the concepts being covered in class.  (Other students sometimes ignore those struggling students and just complete the work on their own instead of trying to include them and their ideas.)  He always puts forth his best effort.


School: Eaton Rapids Middle School

Student: Cooper Jones
Grade: 6th  Nominated by: Staff
Parent: Clinton and Amy Jones

Cooper has earned the Middle School's All Around Scholar Award for many reasons. First of all, his academic skills are "off the charts" for a sixth grader. He scored advanced in every area of the M-STEP statewide assessment. Cooper loves to learn and is a real "thinker". He constantly takes in information, evaluates and synthesizes it and shares it with others. Even though his skills are advanced, he continues to push himself to learn more and always gives his best.
Cooper is a voracious reader and always demonstrates excellent comprehension. In writing class, Cooper not only shows his excellent vocabulary and ability to organize and create detailed, fluent writing, he also takes the time to choose topics that he will enjoy writing about and others will enjoy reading. Whether it's the creative story he recently wrote titled "Possessed Toilet Attacks ER" or a more serious topic like swimming or explaining phobias, his writing is always highly engaging and brings a smile to not only his face, but others around him.
Speaking of smiles, Cooper usually shows up to TAG Class in the morning with a smile on his face, a positive attitude, and something exciting to share with me and others. I feel so lucky to have had Cooper as a student this year and will enjoy seeing and hearing about his future accomplishments.

School: Eaton Rapids Middle School

Student: Haley Johnson- Pizano
Grade: 6th
Nominated by: Staff
Parent: Melissa Dickson

Haley---Haley has really turned things around.  She has been working hard to complete assignments.  She has been doing her best work and taking pride in the quality of her work and the effort she has been putting into her assignments. She has also been taking a more active role in class. This has been paying off and her grades have been improving as a result of all her hard work.

School: Eaton Rapids High School

Student: Xin (Rachel) Dong
Grade: Senior
Nominated by: Staff
Parents: Yong Dong and Yu Wang

Xin Dong is a tremendous asset to the high school and well deserving of the All-Around Scholar recognition.  Xin has earned a 4.18 cumulative GPA while taking a rigorous course load that has included advanced English and Biology, AP Psychology, AP World History, AP Chemistry, and on-line AP Micro- and Macroeconomics.  Next year Xin has requested to take AP English, AP Biology, AP Calculus, and AP U.S. History.  In additional to her demanding course load,Xin is in National Honor Society, Youth in Government,  plays varsity tennis and works at her family’s business.  Xin’s work ethic, dedication, and achievement exemplify what it means to be a greyhound.

School: Eaton Rapids High School

Student: Lexi Hallenbeck
Nominated by: Staff
Parents: Bill and Kim Hallenbeck

Lexi is a 10th grader at the high school and has shown amazing growth this year, as a student and as a young adult.  Lexi came from a self contained classroom in the middle school where she was not exposed to the general education curriculum.  As a freshman, we knew she had more potential and she was transferred into general ed classes with support.  Although it was very difficult and Lexi experienced some tough times, she persevered and this year has all A's, B's and C's.  Lexi is also part of the swim team and has been a positive influence on many students.  It is a pleasure to see Lexi everyday; her humor, positive attitude, and her determination make her a great choice for the high school's Most Improved Scholar Award.

School:  Greyhound Central Performance Academy

Student: Emeleigh Ballor
Grade: HS
Nominated by: GCPA staff
Parent: Chris and Kelly Ballor

The teachers at Greyhound Central are excited to nominate Emeleigh Anne Ballor for our All Around Scholar. Emeleigh was an easy choice for this honor. Since she came to us from the high school second trimester, she has been an incredibly hard worker. She completed seven classes during second trimester. At the beginning of third trimester, since she did not have many more classes to complete, she made the decision to try and graduate early. As of today, she has already completed 10 courses this trimester and will finish enough by the end of the year to graduate one year early with her high school diploma. She has completed more courses by far than any of our other students this year.  Graduating early is not for everyone, but Emeleigh already has made plans for her future. She has a scholarship to Baker College in the fall. We have enjoyed getting to know Emeleigh over her past two trimesters and we know she has a bright future.

School:  Greyhound Central Performance Academy

Student: Haley Lee
Grade: HS
Nominated by: GCPA staff
Parent: Bree Daughenbaugh

The teachers at Greyhound Central Performance Academy teachers are proud to nominate Haley Lee as our Most Improved Scholar for this year. Being successful here at GCPA is difficult. Haley has had to overcome some obstacles in her life this year and she has done an awesome job. Haley has developed great note-taking and study skills throughout the years. Her notes are awesome. She is one of the few students who consistently puts in her required 25 hours of school work per week.She works hard on her classes and makes sure to ask for help when she needs it. We are very proud of her and how hard she has worked this year.




School: Lockwood

Name: Deb Hernandez
Nominated by: Kristina Fox

Deb is an amazing co-worker and encourager here at Lockwood.  She has worked very hard to improve our Title program here at Lockwood.  She has organized Data days with each grade level this year, and is constantly working to improve the Title program across the district. Here at Lockwood, Deb is an extremely important member to every committee that she serves on. She has a way to make everyone that she works with really think about why they are doing things a certain way and what if they were to do it a different way.  
Her heart for kids and enthusiasm for teaching shines through in all that she does.  Many students, not even in her reading groups,  stop by her room for encouragement and a big smile.  Deb does countless of small and big things for all staff members, most of them no one even knows that it is her.  


School: Eaton Rapids High School

Name: Kathleen Sard

Nominated by: Dawn Copeland

Katie is always cheerful and positive. She is willing to help out students who are struggling or behind. She does a great job with the Robotics team and has been adjusting so well as a new teacher it seems like she has been here for years.  She works well with Special Education students and never loses her cool.  She even sings!  This woman can do everything!


School: Greyhound Central Performance Academy

Name: Abby Devalk

Nominated by: Christina Cogo
The staff at Greyhound Central Performance  is excited to honor Abigail DeValk as teacher of the month. Abby has been with the Alternative Education program here in Eaton Rapids for 11 years.  She is an asset to the program and has helped it to thrive and grow.  She is gentle, but firm and tries to take the students from where they are at when they enter the program and guide them to where they need to be to complete their high school requirements.  She believes in them and they know it.
Because her passion is with the Alternative population, Abby believes that it is crucial to find ways to get to know and connect with her students.  She feels that building relationships and trust are valuable to help students get back on their educational track.  Abby  is our  9-12 grade English teacher. She teaches her classes through group readings and discussion to help students gain an understanding and an appreciation of literature. Abby always makes time to work with students when they need extra help. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she is also our Teacher Leader and Academic Coordinator.  Abby spends many after school hours enrolling students, meeting with them and their parents to help them ease into the alternative program, to decide which educational track will be best, and writes their educational plan to help them begin this process. It has been an honor and pleasure to work side by side with a teacher as talented, compassionate, and dedicated to helping students as Abby DeValk.



School: Greyhound Central Elementary

Name: Cathy Anderson

Nominated by: Erica Miller

Cathy has done so much for my classroom and the building this year. She volunteers once a month to help in the classroom for the whole day. While she is in my classroom she will help with numerous activities such as: centers, making copies, cutting items out, and helping students in anyway needed. I also send home projects for her to work on such as laminating, putting together book orders, and assembling a variety of activities. Cathy is also very caring and generous. For Earth Day she provided my classroom with all the materials for each student to grow a tomato plant. Anytime I have asked for classroom supplies, she is the first to donate the items. Even when her and her daughter were home sick she still found time to buy and make a bunch of food items for the teachers during parent teacher conferences. She is assisting the PTO with the upcoming Fun Run and chaperoning our class field trip. Cathy goes above and beyond and I know that I can always count on her for help.


Lockwood Elementary School

Lunch Mentors- Lynn DeMoree,  Anna Curtis, Tim Johnson, Heather Schragg, Sue Steward, Susan Marshall, Diane Buell,  Diane Clone, Lindsay Peters, Kaye Peterson, Erin Elke, Ben Dancer

Nominated by: Jim Bullinger

Our mentoring program is in its second year at Lockwood Elementary.  Every week, our mentors take time out of their busy lives to come to our building and spend time with students who are in need of an additional connection to school.  Many of our mentors are in their second year of service to this important program, and several have dedicated their time over the past two school years to visiting with the same student as they advanced from first to second grade.  Others have rededicated themselves to new students, and are spending the year assisting them with the journey through first grade.  Whatever their capacity, all of our mentors have enriched the lives of our students, and have provided them with positive guidance throughout the year.
    At a time when so many of our children seek stability and support, our mentors are able to provide a predictably positive presence with their weekly visits.  The students enthusiastically await their visits each week, and excitedly relate stories of mentoring activities after their meetings.  Each of our mentors offers unique talents to share with their students.  Each has developed bonds with the students that would be impossible to duplicate without the program.
    Mentors and students exchange smiles at the start of every visit, share lunch and engage in activities ranging from board games to outdoor play to personal grooming activities like polishing fingernails.  They practice martial arts moves, design art projects, play with Dudly (Lynn's dog) and read together.  Mainly, they enjoy one another's company.  For all of the students in our program, it has become a highlight of their week.
    Without the dedication of these wonderful adults, the Lockwood mentoring program would not be possible.  We are grateful for their time, their talents, their patience and their sense of community.    They have each enriched the lives of the students with whom they share time each week.  They have made Lockwood School a better place by their presence.


Eaton Rapids High School

Name: All volunteers for HS Musical "The Music Man"

Becky Davis, Larry and Cathie Ott, Barbara and Dan Streed, Dave Jaksa, Laura Ovresat, Heather Tynes, Crystal Bliese, Dawn and Chris Copeland, Rae Darefsky, Derek Lounds, Amy Jones, Shelly Bair, Nicole Fahnestock, Jennifer Holzschu, Liz Hubert, and Colleen O’Neil.

Nominated by: Mrs. Ferguson and Mr. Funaro

"The Music Man" was a success this year, but its success was only made possible through the time and effort of many volunteers behind the scenes.  These individuals donated time out of their busy lives to help the cast, crew, and directors in so many ways. Without their efforts, "The Music Man" would not have been the great production that it was.  These men and women helped design, build, and paint an amazing set; designed, altered, mended, and ironed a variety of wonderful costumes; sold tickets and concessions; designed and printed the program; helped set lighting cues; organized and provided food for dinners during tech week; picked up and returned the rented backdrop; helped configure sound cues; lent us props; supervised those adorable little members of the boys band; and hosted our cast party.  There are likely many other things that were done by our volunteers that didn't make this list, but it goes without saying that the success of our show lies heavily with these kind and generous folks. Thanks to their selflessness, our kids were able to shine.  They are all more than deserving of our gratitude and this special honor.

March Outstanding ELA Student/Staff/Volunteer of the Month

Front row: Ikaika Best- Lockwood, Mia Wheaton- GIS,Torin McNabb- GCE
Back Row:Tyler Gibson- ERMS, Mary Williams- GIS, Drew Bogardus- ERHS, Jaycob Stowell- GCPA



Greyhound Central Elementary

Student: Torin McNabb
Nominated by: Susan Wilke
Parents: Erica and Donald McNabb

Torin is an excellent kindergartener.  He is always doing his job and is a good friend to all.  He is a bit shy but still will read and participate.  He came in to my class already knowing how to read 31 words, but he still  works hard and pushes himself to do better each day.  He has moved up 5 levels in reading, can read 127 words on the test, is a top writer and a great test taker.

Lockwood Elementary School

Student: Ikaika Best
Grade: 1st Grade
Nominated by: Amber Schafer
Parents: Chelsie Best

Ikaika has made so much progress in academics this school year, especially in reading.  He has become an avid reader and has excelled far beyond what I expected for him.  Every time I look up he is engrossed in some kind of literature.  Reading has definitely become a strength for Ikaika this school year.  He has a love for learning and is a bright spot in my day.

Greyhound Intermediate School

Student: Mia Wheaton
Grade: 5th
Nominated by: Pam Babbitt
Parents: Brenda Austin and Michael Wheaton

Mia is a wonderful all around student.  She does outstanding work in ELA.  She excels not only in ELA, but across the curriculum. She is an excellent role model for my fourth graders and always volunteers to help them with reading and writing. I frequently use Mia's writing and reading responses as anchor papers. She values and takes ownership of her work. Nothing but her best is turned in for assignments. It has been a joy to see her grow from a 4th grader to a 5th grader. She is is a confident, responsible, academically conscientious student that I am proud to send to the Middle School.

Eaton Rapids Middle School

Student: Tyler Gibson
Grade: 6th
Nominated by: Jane Orr
Parent: Carol Crose and Zi Gibson

Tyler is a fantastic writer. His vocabulary choices and the way he phrases his ideas into sentences are so well done that I actually checked his work for possible plagiarism earlier this school year. Obviously, it wasn't plagiarism. It was just an extremely talented and hard working sixth grade writer. Tyler's interests are also very mature, and it's always interesting to hear about his knowledge and thoughts about topics like: religion, history, the environment, and more through his writing.  Tyler is a vivacious reader of both fiction and nonfiction, and this also contributes to his amazing writing skills.
Tyler naturally uses transition words to help his readers understand his thoughts and ideas, when most sixth graders aren't even sure what they are yet. Tyler isn't afraid to share his ideas and voice his thoughts, even if he is disagreeing with the teacher. He does this is a very respectful way and adds more information and perspective to the topics being discussed. Although Tyler doesn't tend to share his writing a lot at school,  he always works very hard to take his writing to the level that he can be proud of. His excellent writing skills, along with his many other talents, will help take him many places in the future, and I'm so glad that I got to be a part of it.

Eaton Rapids High School

Student: Drew Bogardus
Grade: Senior
Nominated by: High School English Department
Parents: Jeff and Molly Bogardus

Drew was nominated unanimously by the English Department. Drew is an excellent student who goes above and beyond in English.  Although he didn't have to, he registered for three English classes his Senior year.  In English 12A, he created a very memorable display for the Holocaust Museum focusing on the companies that profited from slave labor during the World War II.  
Drew also took Modern Novels and is currently in Creative Writing. He approaches literature with a deep love of language and a mature understanding of content.  His willingness to participate in class and his drive to succeed has made him a joy to have in all of our classes. We celebrate his accomplishments in English and have enjoyed having him in English classes over the past four years.

Greyhound Central Performance Academy

Student: Jaycob Stowell
Grade: HS
Nominated by: GCPA staff
Parent: Kari Priesman

The GCPA teachers nominate Jaycob Stowell for the ELA student of the month. We want to recognize Jaycob because he has already completed two English classes this year.  He is currently in the process of completing two more English classes. Our English classes are challenging because they require students to complete both online work and read books and complete the written work that goes with them. Jaycob has shown an improved work ethic this year and a willingness to ask for help. We are delighted to see his growth as both a person and a student and we look forward to see Jaycob graduate.



Name: Mary Williams
Nominated by: Carl Fangboner

I would like to nominate Mary Williams as “Exemplary Teacher of the Month”.  I have known and worked with Mary many years.  For the last few years it has been my pleasure to work with her as a partner, teaming together on the behalf of a number of shared students.  I marvel how she can fill the roles of juggler, organizer, counselor and coordinator all during the same day and sometimes the same hour. She juggles the schedules of paraprofessionals to meet the needs of her students. She organizes the days of her students to have them ready for the their classrooms and for their time with her. She truly listens to her students as they share about themselves and their day. She coordinates the student schedules from homeroom teachers across all 3 grade levels and still gets in the necessary student instruction. I am amazed how she works on the challenges of each student while being encouraging and developing their strengths at the same time. I admire how she models being caring and being patient so her students can see those qualities in action. I am impressed at how she is always ready and yet flexible for whatever each day might bring. Mary always is there for her students, for their parents, and for her fellow teachers. She truly is a wonderful representative of the School District and people in the teaching profession. It is my honor and privilege to support Mary Williams as Eaton Rapids Exemplary Teacher of the Month.

Eaton Rapids High School
Name: Kelly Coppins
Nominated by: High School Staff

Kelly Coppins is a teacher that is very dedicated to the "art" of teaching and the "Science" of her craft as well. She is an excellent Physics and Chemistry teacher because she makes both of those subjects come alive for students with wonderful explanations and almost daily hands-on experiments and activities. All of her notes are typed up with fill in the blanks so that students follow along and listen to the important lecture, but at the same time are learning to copy notes and pick out the important information. All of her students have their work in a binder she has copied for them for the whole trimester so that they have access to it and they don't loose any of their notes or quizzes.
She comes to many IEP's and parent meetings before and after school, often with great ideas about what will help the student to be successful. When student's have traumatic events thrown at them in their life that perhaps steer them off the path for a little while, Kelly will write them a letter, letting them know she understands, she empathizes, but she knows they can overcome whatever hurdle they have to. She connects well with students, bends over backwards for anything staff needs and is a very hard working, dedicated teacher that doesn't get acknowledged enough. Thank you Kelly, and we are lucky to have you making a difference in our school and community.



February Outstanding Math Student/Staff/Volunteer of the Month

 (front row) Zoielynn Ahler -Greyhound Central Elementary, Abby Prendergast - Lockwood Elementary, Isabel Shepard - Greyhound Intermediate School. (Back row) McKenzie Anderson - Eaton Rapids High School, Dawn Copland (staff) Eaton Rapids High School, Nancy Trimble (staff) Lockwood & GCE, Liam Boomer - Eaton Rapids Middle School. Not Pictured: Alex Jordan - Greyhound Central Performance Academy.


Greyhound Central Elementary

Student: Zoielynn Ahler
Nominated by: Anja Laretz
Parents: Hannah and Brad Ahler

From the first day of school, Zoielynn has been very interested in math. She is always very engaged in math and enjoys trying new things. This year I changed my math centers many times to create what was best for my class. Right after winter break, I was explaining the new centers to the class and I heard Zoielynn whisper to a friend "I am so excited! I love math!" She also went home and told her aunt all about how she was going to get to do addition in the new centers. Zoielynn is always willing to help others in math and is always doing her best. I truly think Zoielynn deserves to be this month's Student of the Month for her excellence in Math!


Lockwood Elementary School

Student: Abigail (Abby) Prendergast
Grade: 2nd
Nominated by: Pam Mead
Parents:Bethany and Shawn Prendergast

Abby is a fantastic math student.  She is a 2nd grader working with the 3rd graders in our class.  She has worked hard to keep up with her daily work.  Abby has most of her multiplication facts memorized and is very accurate in her daily work in all areas.  More importantly Abby is very good at thinking about problem solving in many different ways.  She is very flexible in her thinking and can come up with more than one way to solve a problem.  If a peer doesn't understand how to get to an answer, Abby is often the one who can come up with a way to explain it!  She is very  articulate  in explaining her mathematical thinking.  I am proud of how Abby has challenged herself to continue to learn new things in math.  She isn't afraid to make a mistake to learn something new. I'm delighted to nominate Abby for Lockwood's Math Student of the Month.  

Greyhound Intermediate School

Student: Isabel Shepard
Grade: 3rd
Nominated by: Colleen Martell
Parents: Elizabeth Barshaw and Matthew Shepard  

Isabel is a well rounded student. Honestly, I could nominate her for any of the student of the month themes, but I chose Math for several reasons.
First, Isabel has a strong mathematical/logical intelligence.  I so appreciate her ability to explain and describe her thinking. Isabel enthusiastically participates during our math lessons, and with our new GO Math curriculum, she is rising to the challenge of sharing her thinking with her classmates. She is great at drawing mathematical models, transferring those to equations, and solving problems. Because of her attention and effort during class, she has done exceptionally well on the 5 unit math tests she has taken so far, which happen to be six pages long each!
Second, Isabel is always willing to help others in class or explain something a different way. However, she is not afraid to ask for help herself when she has questions and will often rephrase or restate in her own words the answer she was given. Also, Isabel readily participates with our skip counting videos and while she is sometimes shy, doesn't hesitate to try out the videos dance moves.

Finally, we recently took our star math test. We expect students to have about a five month growth since that is how long we have been in school. Isabel has already reached a full years growth! I am so proud of her effort, her generosity, her willingness to help others, her ability to take risks, and her overall positive attitude. She definitely deserves to be February's math student of the month!

Eaton Rapids Middle School

Student: Liam Boomer
Grade: 7th
Nominated by: Judy Sharpe
Parent: David and Laura Boomer

I would like to nominate Liam Boomer for the math award from Eaton Rapids Middle School. Everyone has students that do exactly what they are told and often do it without asking but Liam goes above and beyond that all the time.  Liam is all around a great student.  He takes pride in his work....always wants to make sure that he is understanding the concepts that are being taught in class and is always willing to help those around him.  Liam has even offered to help students during his lunch hour...again showing his care for others around him.  I nominate Liam Boomer as a leader and a well deserved candidate for the math award for ERMS.

Eaton Rapids High School

Student: McKenzie Anderson
Grade: 11
Nominated by: Kristy Acker
Parents: Andrew ad Laura Anderson

McKenzie Anderson was nominated to be the math student of the month because she has excellent basic math skills, has problem solving ability and is a critical thinker.  She is currently enrolled in Algebra 2B at the High School, but is completing both Algebra 2B and Algebra 2C in one trimester.  This means that McKenzie has been able to work double time through the material in order to take Trigonometry for her third trimester.

Besides being good at math, McKenzie is a good role model at the High School.  She participates in athletic events and is involved with clubs and activities.  Besides being on the team, I see McKenzie cheering on others in the student section at games as well as motivate her fellow classmates to take part in our donation drives at the school.  Keep up the great attitude and work McKenzie!

Greyhound Central Performance Academy

Student: Alex Jordan 
Grade: HS
Nominated by: GCPA staff
Sarah Hillsburg

The GCPA teachers nominate Alexsandra Jordan as the mathematics Student of the Month. Trying to get through math in an online program is difficult, but Alexsandra has worked her way through ¾ of Algebra 2A in the short time she has been at GCPA.   She is willing to work, take lots of notes, and figure out how to attain her math answers to achieve her goals.  Alexsandra’s short-term goal is to graduate with her diploma next year.  She is striving hard to attain that goal from the start. Alexsandra is a pleasure to have in class and always has a smile on her face.  She is nice, respectful, thoughtful, and very easy to get along with.  She is a delight to have in our program.  


Lockwood, GCE

Name: Nancy Trimble
Nominated by: Tamara Rousch

Nancy goes above and beyond on a daily basis while working at Lockwood. Not only does she work without ceasing, she never complains...ever! This is an asset for the school as this trait makes Nancy very approachable. Whether or not staff complete a trouble ticket, Nancy takes the trouble out of technology as she is intentional to resolve issues using analogies to communicate technical resolution from what may seem to be a technical nightmare. These analogies communicate patience and understanding to those of us who may not be very technologically literate. She is so compassionate with the students at Lockwood and engages them with her upbeat attitude and demeanor that fosters ownership of technological learning, use of the library, and enjoying that "just right" book. Also, she encourages students to discover potential literature for book reports, geography study, or a poetry unit. Nancy uses bold numbers and multi colored duct tape as a referencing tool for the students. She also creates themed bookmarks for every student to enhance reading as the students take home books to share with their family. In addition to encouraging the students to become connected with the library and technology with great resources, she also assists the staff in doing so. For example, when the Polar Express was going to be read, Nancy researched sound and animation that served as an added attraction for the students as they entered the library. Nancy is relentless at ensuring that the technological needs of the staff and students at Lockwood are met. She values the importance of augmenting interdisciplinary learning by ensuring that the staff and students have the supplies and equipment needed to foster a positive learning environment. She does this by providing a welcoming, orderly and updated library that encompasses novice staff and student along with the use of technology.  

Eaton Rapids Middle School

Name: Kristen Mulkey
Nominated by:  Bill Sainz

Kristin Mulkey is a parapro/health aid in my 1st period tech ed class.  Besides, making sure students are welcomed, prepared and participating in my class she also takes care of the health needs of some of my diabetic students.  She supports our classroom activities and lessons and fills in when I am busy with other students.  She noticed last week as we were playing "Measure That Thing" as part of our measuring unit that my class was in need of some new rulers.  Without my knowledge, she spent her own money and time and purchased a classroom set of wonderful flexible rulers for "our" class.  She refused my efforts to reimburse her, insisting she just wanted to help.  
   Thank you very much to Kristin Mulkey for helping out so very much everyday and going way beyond the call of duty.  She is my Queen of rulers!

Eaton Rapids High School

Name: Dawn Copeland
Nominated by: High School Staff

Dawn is very dedicated to her work in the library.  She is very organized and extremely helpful to students and staff.  Thank you Dawn for your energy, dedication, and organization!

We would also like to recognize the members of the high school choir who were selected to the Michigan School Vocal Music Association All-State Choirs.  They are:

Morgan Maier, Melissa Copeland, Sorcha Lahna, Carl Peebles, and Kirsten Kidd


October Student/Staff/Volunteer of the Month

Leadership and Positive Behavior

L-R front row:  Greyhound Central Elementary Student: Alivia Large, Lockwood Elementary School Student: Remie Ellis .Second row: Greyhound Intermediate School 3rd Grade Teacher: Colleen Martell, Eaton Rapids Middle School Student: Shane Baker, Eaton Rapids High School Student: Emily Charles, Eaton Rapids High School Teacher:  Erik Smith.Back row: Greyhound Central Performance Academy Student: Savannah Davis, Transportation Employee: Melissa Williams.


Greyhound Central Elementary

Student: Alivia Large, GCE
Nominated by: Anja Laretz
Parents: Angela and Justin Large

If you ever step foot in my kindergarten classroom you could look at Alivia and know exactly what the students should be doing. Alivia is always following BARK behavior, she works hard, and she encourages others to work hard. Alivia completes her work to the best of her ability and has made so many academic gains already this year!

Alivia has been out sick quite a bit this year and each time she comes back she is positive, happy, and ready to work. Each day Alivia is not in class, we greatly miss her positive attitude and help in our classroom. Alivia deserves to be the student of the month for leadership and positive behavior.

Lockwood Elementary School

Student:  Remie Ellis
Nominated by:  Carrie Saindon
Parents: Constance and Russell Ellis

Remie is a pleasure to have in first grade. She comes into class every morning with a smile on her face and a great attitude. She gets right to work on her morning work and and is always ready for the next task. Whether we are working on the carpet doing reading or math, or at our desks working on writing, Remie is always trying her best. I can always count on Remie to be a role model for others in my classroom.

In addition to Remie's great attitude and hard work ethic, she is also kind to her classmates. She is very helpful and is always willing to help out. She does this through helping a friend spell a word, sharing stories, sharing markers, helping a classmate clean up, and the list could go on.

I have enjoyed having Remie in my class and look forward to the rest of the school year together. Keep up the great work!

Greyhound Intermediate School

Student: Courteney Ackley
Nominated by: Kate Jewett
Parents: Jenifer and Johnathan Ackley

I am honored to nominate Courteney Ackley for student of the month for leadership and positive behavior.  Courteney is a fifth grader at Greyhound Intermediate School, and sets an example daily, for what leadership and positive behavior looks like at GIS.

Courteney is constantly stepping up to help others in her class, as well as the entire school community.  Inside the classroom, Courteney can be seen eagerly contributing to class discussions, and working with any and all of her peers.  She encourages others to share ideas and contribute, even if they are nervous or unsure of themselves.  Courteney encompasses qualities of the best BARK behavior possible.  She has been a leader in the school community by participating in Kids Crew which is a service group at GIS.  She has also played a large role in Red Ribbon Week where students and staff advocate for healthy living and to stay away from drugs and other harmful things.

In closing, I would say that Courteney embodies all of the great qualities of a student leader.  Her positive behavior, outlook and willingness to help others, in the class and school, are infectious.  I see students looking up to her in a way that would make any teacher or parent proud.  It has been a pleasure to get to know Courteney and I look forward to watching all the amazing things she does over her years in Eaton Rapids Public Schools!

Eaton Rapids Middle School

Student: Shane Baker
Nominated by: ERMS Staff
Parents: Pam Baker

Shane has had an outstanding start of the school  year. This young man has truly grown in front of us over the last 3 years. Shane leads by example inside and outside the classroom. Shane is always willing to help students with their own studies. Some things staff members have used to describe Shane are: young  man of great character, helpful, empathy towards others, always willing to help out. Puts others first.

For example:  On the walk to school day without hesitation, Shane helped out a student that had fallen behind. He helped her catch up and also lent her his jacket as she was cold from the brisk morning.

Eaton Rapids High School

Student: Emily Charles
Parents: George and Rebecca Charles
Nominated by: Mr. Lounds

Emily is an incredible all-around student. She is an excellent student and leader in our classrooms and hallways on a daily basis. In addition to this everyday leadership, Emily was instrumental in our first blood drive. She organized the entire event, including meeting with the Red Cross organizer, developing the donation schedule, organizing the volunteers and completing the paperwork. On the day of the drive, whenever something unexpected came up, she was able to adjust plans and make it a success. It is important to note that Emily is NOT being nominated for her role in a one time event. This is just one example of the many ways, both large and small, noticed and unnoticed, that Emily provides leadership and a positive example for our school! She truly embodies what it means to be a Greyhound!

Greyhound Central Performance Academy

Student: Savannah Davis
Nominated by: Tina, Sarah, Abby, and Pam
Parents: Tanya and Ronald Davis

The GCPA teachers would like to nominate Savannah Davis as our October student of the month for Positive Behavior and Leadership. Savannah has been contributing to our positive school culture from the first day that she started here at Greyhound Central. This is now Savannah’s second year with us. She always comes on her assigned days and even asked at the beginning of the year if she could come four days instead of two in order to get more class work done.

Even though Savannah is not a particular fan on it, she has been working diligently to finished her Algebra 1B class and always asking for help when she needs it. She often even checks out a graphing calculator to take home with her so she can get more work done. In addition to working on her core classes at Greyhound Central she is also enrolled in the mornings at LCC in the Health Technology program. She attends that rigorous program daily and uses her other classmates also in that program as valuable resources to help her be successful at LCC.

Savannah not only tries hard academically, she also advocates for us to be doing more fun things for students here at Greyhound Central. Whenever we need ideas or help with a project, Savannah is always willing to contribute. Having Savannah as a student here at Greyhound Central makes our school a more positive and fun place to be.



Employee: Melissa Williams
Nominated by: Staff

Since taking the position of Assistant Supervisor, she has stepped up to the plate full force.  She took the reigns and hasn’t looked back!  She is doing an awesome job and is a joy to work with.

Greyhound Intermediate School

Teacher: Colleen Martell, 3rd Grade
Nominated by: Joanna Adams

Colleen Martell spent many years as a beloved 5th grade teacher at GIS.  I worked with her for several years in her capacity as a 5th grade general education teacher and she was consistently sensitive to the individual strengths, differences, and needs of all students in her classes.  Staff and students alike are aware of her extraordinary teaching talents.  One day, a 4th grade student enthusiastically informed me that he heard that "Mrs. Martell is the world's greatest ELA teacher!

This year, Mrs. Martell transitioned to a 3rd grade general education classroom, and her teaching gifts continue to amaze me in the midst of change. She is patient, kind, and a forward thinker.  She constantly thinks about her students and considers how to make positive changes in her classroom environment.   

Any time I am in her room, I hear her give countless positive comments toward her students, as well as lots of encouragement, care, and concern. She is a tireless teacher, giving up time on weekends to do prep work at school to make each day of the week as positive for her students as possible.  I'm not sure how she does it all, but I am thankful she does!  I'm sure her students are thankful for her as well!

Eaton Rapids High School

Teacher:  Erik Smith
Nominated by: Derek Lounds

Erik is one of many great teacher leaders at Eaton Rapids High School. He has taken an active role in more committees and initiatives that I can name or care to name. Whether as department chair, member of the technology committee, or anything else, Erik is there providing thoughtful insight and helping shape and refine the direction. He is not only a part of all of these things, but he is an active part. He helps me be a better leader by helping me ensure that our focus is on our students. He is not afraid to share his opinion, but does so in a professional and respectful manner, always with a constructive goal in mind. Our students, staff, and school community are blessed to have Erik Smith as a part of ERHS!

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