In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I wanted to take a moment to recognize one of the most influential teachers I’ve had throughout my education thus far. 

When I was a sophomore in high school, I had a difficult time choosing which elective I wanted to take. I eventually landed on journalism, simply because I wanted to have another class with one of my friends. 

At that time in my life, I thought that I wanted to go to college at UC Davis and become a veterinarian, as most girls do at some point or another growing up (as long as they’re the animal-loving type). It wasn’t until the first day of journalism class that August that my dream started to change, and from then on I’ve had a passion for writing that I don’t see going away anytime soon.  

Throughout sophomore year, journalism was one of the only classes I consistently looked forward to, though I hadn’t yet figured out why. When it came time to register for classes for the following year, I signed up again, and took on the position of News Briefs Editor at your suggestion (before you told me it was one of the more difficult positions out there).  

It was at some point during junior year that I started to see a real future for myself. I began to realize that I had a knack for sharing my opinions and perspectives in ways that positively influenced other people. I began to dream of seeing myself behind a news anchor’s desk on the evening news, and began to see my byline on the front page of the New York Times.  

I became editor my senior year, and looked forward to staying after school and coming in on the weekends to put together the paper. My parents didn’t understand why I didn’t dread having to wake up early on a Saturday morning and spend nearly eight hours laying out and proofreading the monthly paper. To this day, I don’t think that I can articulate the feelings of pride and satisfaction I got when the freshly printed paper showed up at the door with my name on the front page.  

And this was all thanks to you. Without your engagement and influence every class period, I would have switched into something else my junior year, without even giving journalism a second thought. I would have gone to college with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, and potentially would have declared a major that I’d end up changing halfway through my junior year. 

So, Mrs. Thompson, thank you. Thank you for encouraging me when I doubted my own abilities, thank you for never giving up on me, thank you for the countless edits on my stories and thank you for helping me to become a better writer.  

But most of all, thank you doing what you do. For teaching students like me to believe in themselves and push themselves to become better. The world needs more teachers like you.