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Bert D. Sheffer – Hillsdale Elementary

I would like to nominate a teacher who has made a big difference in the lives of so many of his students.
He was a dedicated teacher for 32 years. His goal was to see that each of his students would be ready and well prepared to go forward to the next year of their education. He taught all subjects and was especially focused on Math which he felt was very important.

Just recently during a local legislation meeting, a Utah politician was talking about the importance of our teachers and what an impact a sincere, energetic, and devoted teacher can make. He started talking about his favorite teacher. A teacher who made a big difference in the lives of his students. He talked about how excited he was to be there every day, and how much he loved his students. You could tell how important he felt teaching was, and that those students were like his own children. The speaker said Mr Sheffer was his fourth grade teacher and had made a difference in his life. I was shocked to find out the man he was talking about, was my grandfather. But the shock didn’t last for long. I have heard the stories for years from my grandpa about his students, and the love he had for them as well as teaching.

He was always there on time, was enthusiastic, and deeply cared for each of his students made learning a enjoyable experience. He was firm but fair. He loved teaching and it showed.

He hardly ever in his 32 years missed a day. One year he had the chance to go on a Caribbean Cruise that my grandmother had won. I’ve heard this story a few times, and I still can’t believe the dedication his response shows. He said, “I can’t go. It would be too disruptive for the class to have a substitute teacher for a week.” He missed a once in a lifetime cruise because his students learning their curriculum was more important. And he has never had another chance to take a cruise.

The only time he was remembered as not being in class was due to a class project of making sand bottles. My grandfather traveled all over Utah gathering different colors of sand for them to use with baby food bottles. One student had needed help pressing the sand down. Not realizing the bottle had a crack in it, as he pressed down the bottle shattered cutting the tendon in his wrist. He needed surgery and was hospitalized for a few days.

My grandfather is now 85 years old, and whenever we go out around town, we almost with out fail run into one of his former students. Many of them are in very prominent professions. Several are in the health field, in the business world, and one a prominent Politician . They are always so excited to see him. They always tell him that he was their favorite teacher, and that he really made an impact on their lives.

My grandpa is only one man, but it is amazing the impact one person can make. He taught 4th grade for 32 years, has 8 children, 48 grandchildren, and countless great grandchildren. The affect this man has had on the world is amazing. And everyone he touches is succeeding in life, and making Utah a better place. In one word, he is amazing. And to me, he is my hero.

–Taryn Wright