I have listened to KSL News radio every morning for the last couple of years and each time I hear the ‘teacher feature’ presentation I always begin to think about who I would nominate for this award if I had the chance to do so. This past summer I graduated from the University of Utah. During my four years of post-high school education I encountered some great and highly intelligent professors that taught me many things. Nevertheless, when I think about an outstanding teacher that has truly impacted my life in a positive way (as well as the lives of countless other students) I inevitably think about Mr. Aaron Hadfield from Brighton High School.
Mr. Hadfield teaches a course entitled ‘American Problems’ to all seniors at Brighton who choose to take it. This course wonderfully addresses the topics of American Government, politics, and history while highlighting the importance of freedom, equality, and decision making as a citizen. Unlike many other government classes that I have taken throughout my life, Mr. Hadfield’s course was not about memorizing dates or facts, but rather his course emphasizes the importance of applying important concepts and fundamentals that the United States was founded on.
Even more important than the course content that was taught to me however was the outlook that I gained about the importance of education. For my first eleven years of school I always viewed education as a burden or an obligation, something that I had to do. It was in Mr. Hadfield’s American Problems class however that I first realized that education is indeed a privilege, something that I get to do. He inspires his students to care about their country, community, and family. He shows the importance of keeping America free and instills in his students (who he refers to as future leaders) the need to make right choices and care about those around them. It is evident in Mr. Hadfield’s demeanor while he teaches that he truly does care about what is being taught. In his class it is not just about obtaining a grade or passing a course, but rather about becoming a better person, a better citizen, and a better nation as a whole.
I can say with certainty that Mr. Hadfield’s class has helped to plant those seeds in my own life. Even seven years after taking his course and graduating from high school I still reference and ponder on the things that I learned from him. I am constantly applying the many realizations and epiphanies that I had while enrolled in Mr. Hadfield’s class and I am still trying to build on that foundation that I formed in his class so that one day I can take the things which he taught us and pass them on to the next future leaders of our nation.