I am writing to nominate a former teacher of mine, Wayne Stevenson, for the KSL Teacher Feature Award. Mr. Stevenson has had a great influence on my life ever since I had him at Wahlquist Junior High, in classes in World Geography and American History. Even before I started class with Mr. Stevenson, I was excited to have him as a teacher, because I had heard so many good things about his classes. Many of my friends, who had Mr. Stevenson, considered him their favorite teacher. I soon learned why.
Mr. Stevenson always brought a positive atmosphere to the classroom. He had so much energy and excitement for the subjects that he taught, it was contagious. History and geography were supposed to be boring, but not with Mr. Stevenson. He brought the subjects alive! For American History, Mr. Stevenson would borrow voting equipment from the county and would hold mock elections among his students. We watched some parts of “National Treasure” and had our own type of treasure hunts where we would try to figure out all of the symbols on the One Dollar Bill and their meanings.
In World Geography, Mr. Stevenson was so creative, he made geography fun and understandable. At the end of each area or country we studied, Mr. Stevenson would throw a party. He would decorate his classroom with flags and photographs and other items representing the country. Then he would make us food from that part of the world. Through this he taught us that it was okay to try something new, and also how important it was to understand the country in order to understand the people. I had no idea, at the time, how this teacher and this class would affect my life.
I graduated early from High School and enlisted in the Utah National Guard. I soon went to Chinese language training in Monterey California, where Mr. Stevenson’s lessons helped me, as I has a whole new language to learn and a culture to understand. I was then sent to Afghanistan, where I was stationed at a small outpost near Kabul. I worked very closely with many of the Afghani’s. I was so grateful to Mr. Stevenson for the things he had taught me. It made this difficult experience that much easier for me, as I got to know the people and appreciate their foods and cultures. I appreciate so much the things about the world that Mr. Stevenson taught me as well as the patriotism for my own country that he instilled in me. I was so glad for the lessons I learned from Mr. Stevenson about different cultures and how to appreciate the culture no matter how different it was from my own. I am now back in Afghanistan teaching US soldiers advances training.
I am not the only one who Mr. Stevenson influenced. He always looked out for students that were struggling, or needed a little extra help. For the contributions that Mr. Stevenson has made in my life as well as so many others, I would like to nominate him for the KSL Teacher Feature Award.