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Rick Lilly – Clearfield High School

I have had many influential teachers but my International Baccalaureate Biology teacher, Mr. Lilly stands out as one of the most influential. My fellow classmates and other teachers would agree. He cares deeply for all his students and wants them to be successful. During this school year, I went through one of the most trying times in my life. I was struggling in school and with life but Mr. Lilly always made sure that I was okay and was willing to help me with anything. He taught me to accept difficulties and make the best of them.
Beyond school, he is another inspiration in and of itself. He has had almost as many medical issues and surgeries as he the number of years old he is, including but not limited to two kidney transplants and two strokes. Medical issues aren’t easy to overcome but Mr. Lilly acts as if they aren’t even there and he is extremely positive about life. If you watched Mr. Lilly for a day you would never realize what he has been through because he doesn’t let them define him and it is easy to see that he loves his job, his students, and the other staff. He runs the Weber Adaptive bowling program for disabled high school students and he has also competed in the World Transplant Games. He always says, “disease ridden as I am, I can still help 20 people with organ donations. Sometimes people will say organ donation is the last gift of a dying person, but it’s not the last gift of a dying person. It’s the last gift of a living person.”
Mr. Lilly has taught me so much in the classroom and even more about improving my personal development. First, he has shown me what’s truly valuable… life itself! Life is short and positivity and happiness are necessary for a valuable life. Mr. Lilly has shown his students that every day is a good day even if it takes a little searching. As life is short, Mr. Lilly teaches his students to be passionate about life and do what makes you happy. Even something like bowling in his case, can take one on an adventure. There are so many things in life that can lead to adventures. Even though Mr. Lilly is a Biology teacher, he invests his time into the things his students care about and is always willing to listen. From that he forms burning desires in student’s hearts to become the best people they can be. It is mentally impossible for students to not try to do their best when surrounded by Mr. Lilly.
Both in life and in school Mr. Lilly has inspired me to be motivated to strive for greatness, happiness and my goals. He has taught me many skills that I can use now and in the future and I know, without a doubt, that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Mr. Lilly. One of my favorite things does is when he starts out every class with, “Tell me something good…” and us students reply, “tell me that you like it.” Then we share the good things that are happening in our lives. It can be hard to focus on the “good” as a twelfth grader with senioritis and even as an adult but Mr. Lilly shows that life is good. This allows his students to begin class on a positive note and learn a life lesson as well enjoy learning and be less likely to complain.
He teaches in such a unique way that has allowed me to learn more biology than I could ever imagine through crazy fun object lessons and associating things with other things, but more importantly, he has taught me that life matters and you can make the best of it and be the best even when there are struggles.
Thank you for taking the time to read about an amazing teacher that embodies the meaning of teaching. I would love for Mr. Lilly to receive this award because he has taught me so much and he works so hard and truly deserves this.
– Kylie Boyack