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In a world where the pursuit of knowledge and personal growth stands as a beacon of hope, we somehow overlook educators’ immense impact on our lives. Education transcends instruction; it transforms worldviews 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 Provo High School. 

We also invite you to join us in celebrating the heroes who silently shape the world, one lesson at a time. Email newsubmissions@provo.edu 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 Provo High students for teachers across the district below, and expect videos including all Provo High School interviews at the end of the month.

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Ashley Garcia

The first teacher I’d like to share my appreciation for is Julie Hoffman. I’ve had her in AVID since my first year, and she has always pushed me to do my best, motivated me, and believed in me. She’s like a school mom.

The next is Brandon Dorathy. I want to thank him for his genuine kindness and for making my first scholarship possible. I’m super grateful for his help.

Nathan Sauerbeir is up next. He made AP world history so fun, and I appreciate his usual greetings: “Good morning, Miss Garcia!” I’m grateful for his willingness to help me with work; he would- and still does- check in on me.

Last but not least is Jacob Maclane. He believed in me and still does. He taught me the worst thing someone can tell me is “no.” That has strengthened my mindset for the better.

Joa Taimane Roberts

I was a little nervous moving here from Washington since I was new until I met Mrs. Scott, my sixth-grade teacher. She taught me how to manage my nerves, reach out to people, and become friends with anyone.

At Timpview, Coach Anderson, Coach Izzy, and Mrs. Fry taught me a lot about myself– who I am as a student, an athlete, and a person. I’m so grateful for them.”

At Provo, I thank my uncle, Maka Aulava, who made transitioning here so much easier. I love him.”

Teachers are like parents away from home. They taught me how I should act around my peers. They teach me that I should leave a little space for self-forgiveness. I worry about my grades and how others see me. 

They’ve taught me how to let those little things go so I can grow.

Madsen Mae

 One of the most impactful teachers I ever had was Mr. Arnie at Lakeview Elementary. He was a great example to help me gain knowledge, but more than that, he taught me how to be kind to people, no matter the circumstance. He was a role model in the way he taught and the way he acted.

I also love Mr. Reid here, our Woods Teacher. He helped me find a passion for woodworking and carpentry. I’ve spent countless hours there with him and am grateful for that.

I also want to thank Nozawa, my Sophomore Chemistry Teacher. It was a tough class and took a lot of effort, but I learned a lot about myself. 

I learned how to dedicate myself to a task, prioritize, work hard, and put my best foot forward. I learned how to hold myself to a standard that I know I can meet– because I know the work I’m capable of. Nozava and her class taught me that, which I use to this day.

Anaya Hulama

The teacher that made a big impact on me was Mr. Aulava. I came to Provo High as a Junior, and he made me feel welcome here in his class and with his students. 

He taught me that it is a blessing to show my cultural standing and that I have a place in this world. 

He taught me that I am part of something bigger than myself. 

Heber White

Some teachers who have made an impact are Mr. Weiderhold and Mr. Money.

Mr. Weiderhold taught me AP Lang last year, and he taught me how to organize my thoughts, and show others how I think in a thoughtful way. He taught me that I’m a thoughtful person and that I can be thoughtful. He showed me that it’s okay to take things seriously.

Mr. Money has worked way, way longer than probably contracted to do so. He stays after school to help and taught me through three different levels of welding. Even this fourth year, beyond the scope of classes, he’s let me return to the shop to continue learning and pursuing skilled education. He taught me that working with your hands and working hard is a lot of fun. He taught me that I can find many ways to make money, and he has helped me realize my desire for entrepreneurship, even in high school. He has shown me a path leading towards careers in my future.

Siosefa Diaz

A teacher who’s had an impact on me was Lilly Bueno. She taught me Portuguese at Lakeview and moved to Provo High during my Junior year. She’s always been in my life. She’s a teacher who’s always been nice to me, always tried to help me get my grade up, and works late hours to help her students get their grades up. She’s taught me to be a better person.

Jason Carter

The first teacher that comes to mind is Ms. Beck, a Computer Programming Teacher. She taught me to love programming, computers, computer science– all of that good, nerdy stuff. Besides that, she was just a genuine friend.

I also appreciated what Mr. Sauerbeir did in my history classes. He taught me how to appreciate history. I really enjoyed his Modern History Class. He’s just a great guy that is fun to be around.

One of the first AP History classes I took from Mr. Sauerbeir taught me that I can do the hard classes and take on hard things. I can train myself to be diligent in my studies and homework. 

With Ms. Beck in programming, I do have good ideas and should be confident in myself. I learned that I can make whatever I want, and when I’m ready, I have the abilities and tools to accomplish my goals. I know that I am capable.

Camila Velez

A teacher that’s made an impact on me is Chris Eady. He’s taught me a lot about Marketing and Business, and I’ve learned to be a better public speaker. Since taking his class, I’ve learned much about myself and discovered that I wanted to enter Business at college.

Olivia Keleman

In fifth grade, I had this great teacher, Mrs. Soph, who brought great energy to our class. She’d traveled all over the US and made life feel different. 

She taught me how to be confident. She herself was confident. When she talked to students, she’d find traits in her students to compliment, making that an essential point in her class. I gained more confidence with her.

At Dixon, I had Tippets; she was my science teacher. She was amazing. She started the year with a science problem that interested me- I had never been so engaged and intrigued. It made me realize that science is everywhere. She helped me know that I love science and can pursue many science-based careers.

Tagai Lesa

I’ve learned from Maka Aulava in POP to embrace my culture through dance and song. 

I’ve learned that I might be slow getting up to the plate, but I know I can get anything I need to do once I’m there. 

Kimmy Andolyn

Mr. Weiderhold taught me how to be a better writer, helped me find confidence, and taught me that I can do hard things. I can push myself and do things I didn’t think I could do before.

Mr. Wiser taught me so much about music and helped build an appreciation for music in general. He’s helped me hone those skills I’ve learned and teach them to others, too.

Clark Nielsen

One teacher who has impacted my life is Mr. Mitchell, the video production teacher here. I love him and his personality. I love his class and what he’s taught me in his classes.

The class where he taught us how to use new cameras was an important day for me- I was using a really old DSLR then. We learned how to make videos look good; we looked at lighting and settings, that sort of thing. I felt like I leveled my skills up. He made that possible.

He’s taught me how to be creative. He’s taught me how many small acts can make something great. In film, for example, you take many short clips, put them together, edit sound, color-code, and do these many steps– you get this final product that you envisioned in the first place.

Adrienna Estrada-Florez

My sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, was a very caring person. She prepared us for middle school. She taught me that I don’t have to let other’s opinions get to me. She taught me that I can be a better person.

At Dixon Middle School, I had Ms. Ordaz. She taught me to embrace my Spanish culture. She pushed me to be a better person and try harder in school.

At high school, I have Mr. Aulava. He’s someone who’s made a huge impact since I transferred into his class my first year. He made it easier to be in class when I didn’t want to be in class. He isn’t a teacher you have to make excuses around. His lessons are engaging. I’ve learned I don’t have to be afraid to ask questions.

Mr. Hernandez is another teacher who’s made a major impact on my high school life. He’s another figure who taught me how to embrace my culture. I learned that I don’t have to be a different person in front of others.

Spencer Tuinei
  • Communication Specialist
  • Spencer Tuinei
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