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In a world where pursuing knowledge and personal growth is a beacon of hope, we somehow overlook educators’ immense impact on our lives. Education transcends instruction; it transforms world views and shapes our shared future. This series offers gratitude through essays and interviews for the teachers who have left an indelible mark on their students. We will meet with seniors in our three high schools, asking the following prompt:

Now that you are finishing school in our district think back over your years in school, from kindergarten to your senior year. Can you identify a teacher who made a real difference in some aspect of your life, academically or personally? What did they teach you about yourself? What would you like to say to them?

Today, we’re sharing a few comments from interviews conducted at Independence High School. 

We invite you to celebrate the heroes who silently shape the world, one lesson at a time. Email with your letters or essays to your teachers and administration, or send your video reel to ProvoCitySchoolDistrict on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.

Read some of the kind words expressed by Independence High students for teachers across the district below.


Angelica Alonzo

I want to thank Russell Hatch for being my teacher. What he said has impacted me and helped me get to where I am now. I was really behind on credits when I came to the school. I always stressed about school, and he helped me destress about school and calm down. He said I shouldn’t worry as much as I do, because I always do good work, and I would be okay, in the end. It helped me get through last year. It’s what I tell myself everyday now; that I can calm down and take a break.

He taught me that it’s important to take care of myself and it’s okay to relax. Eventually, it’ll all be okay in the end. I want to thank him for being a great teacher. Now I’m graduating, and I think it’s because of him.


The teacher that I chose to shout out is Gina. She’s my English teacher. Before I came to this school, I wasn’t on the right track. She’s pushed me and motivated me to meet my goals.

There are so many reasons I’m grateful for Gina Solis. She stays after school and helps me build credit. She’s taught me that I can push myself and go through hard things. Even if it might feel impossible at the moment, I know I can still do it.

She’s had an enormous impact. I’m the first in my family to graduate in the United States. Gina has helped push me to take pride in what I’m doing.

I’m grateful for all the sacrifices made for me. You’ve helped me see that I can be a better person than I used to be. 

Spencer Tuinei
  • Communication Specialist
  • Spencer Tuinei

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