Making a Difference 

What teacher inspired you in school?

Stephen Dark: Robin Brown. Taught English Literature at West Kent College, an hour from London. In between inspiring a lifelong love of Donne, Shakespeare, Hardy and Forster in his 16-year-old students, he’d take us to see intriguing cinematic fare, such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and encourage us to debate the issues afterward. I lost touch, but last I heard, he went off to raise pigs in Bolivia.

Rachel Piper: My statistics and pre-calc teacher, Mrs. Laraway, understood math on such a deep level, but was incredibly skilled at explaining it in a basic way and getting the concepts to click. She was diagnosed with pretty serious cancer my senior year, but came back early from treatment to get us ready for our AP test. I just checked: As of last year, she was still teaching and geeking out about math, and I’m totally crying right now.

Paydn Augustine: When I was in high school, I had a teacher named Lorna Murray. She is a very caring, guiding woman who has a story for damn near everything, and a great outlook on life. She guided myself and a close friend through school, and we still meet with her for lunch on occasion. Here’s to you, Mrs. Murray. Audentes fortuna iuvat.

Alissa Dimick: I had a teacher, Mrs. Sidesinger, who taught me much more than just science. She was interactive, smart, funny and a good friend. We have e-mailed each other since eighth grade, and she even came to my wedding. She has been teaching me how to be a better person for almost 16 years.

Elly Green: I have two: Mr. Hunter from Sandy Elementary, who did everything he could for his students, and Mr. Tilby from Jordan High, who taught us that learning could be fun. I will never forget them!

Scott Renshaw: Too many to count, but I probably owe a debt as a questioning critical thinker to the late Arturo Islas, from whom I took a college course in Fitzgerald & Hemingway. From him I learned that as long as you’re still alive, so is your relationship with the text, and that a changed mind is a lively mind.

Ivy Smith: I had the coolest AP English teacher in high school. He would play us folk songs at the beginning of every class, and then have us analyze the lyrics as literature. It totally helped, too!

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