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Grace Struiksma – Channing Hall Charter School

Many of us don’t like school. In fact, every student finds at least one problem with school. A boring math class, mean students, strict teachers. People find problems in everything that they do, so why should school be an exception? But sometimes, there are some people that make it all worth it to go to school, and making something incredibly boring into something incredibly amazing is a feat that only a hero can do. These Description: could be anyone from best friends, janitors, teachers, even the principal! This hero, to me, was my 6th grade English teacher, Mrs. Struiksma. The best teacher any student could ever hope to have, and one that will stay in my memories forever.

Mrs. Struiksma has many qualities about her that makes her my hero. She’s extremely caring. How can a teacher be a teacher if she doesn’t care about her students? Some don’t, some even hate children. But Mrs. Struiksma genuinely cares about her students’ well-being. She always wants her students to do well, and will often work straight into the night, just to plan a fun project to help her students learn. She understands that every child learns in a different way, and often helps each student individually. Always knowing how to slap a smile on your face, even on the gloomiest of days, shows her caring in full power. This gift with words leads us on to another amazing quality.

Not only is she caring, but she is intelligent as well. I already mentioned that she teaches 6th grade English, but being a teacher isn’t the only thing that makes her smart. She is great with words, and knows how to explain anything that comes to her mind, no matter how complicated. It seems like I have never heard her stumble with her explanations. She can weave quilts of words with stitches of humor, lined with imagery and creativity. When a student is distracted, she knows exactly how to catch their attention and keep it. She’s a fisherwoman with a strong hook.

I think another reason that she is able to keep her students’ attention so well, is that she is always open to new ideas. She doesn’t just stick with the school criteria and not question it. Of course, she teaches everything required in the school criteria, but she understands that minds are like parachutes, and they only function when they’re open. She always welcomes new ideas from her students and other teachers.

She’s that teacher that remembers every one of her students and their ideas, and sometimes even brings them up in class. Her creativity cannot be matched by any other, since she doesn’t think outside the box, she thinks like there is no box. And that is one of the greatest reasons I respect her for.

Mrs. Struiksma makes school an amazing place, even though I have moved on from her class. Caring, intelligent and open-minded, even after she is long gone, her spirit will be remembered by all of her students, because everybody who meets her, loves her instantly. And I am no exception to that. She will always reside inside of my heart, no matter where, no matter when, and the lessons she has taught me will always have a special place inside of my soul. And there they will lie forever, undisturbed.

–Claire Haines