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Class of 2020: Teachers Who Made a Difference

Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld
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Teachers often make a significant impact on students that goes far beyond the class syllabus. 

As part of a survey to gather information for our annual “Where are they headed” article featuring high school graduates and where they’re heading to college, we included the question: Teacher who changed your life and why. Once again, the students’ responses were so heartwarming. We know that many years from now, these recent grads will remember the teachers who inspired them and helped them grow.

Congratulations, Class of 2020, and thank you to the teachers who helped along the way. To see where these high school grads are heading, check out the article. Also, find out where more local grads are heading - and contribute to, if you haven’t yet – our annual database of college-bound Buzz-area seniors.

Eyimofe Ariyo - Lycée Louis Pasteur (Canada), Ermitage International of France (France), The Awty International School

Eyimofe Ariyo is off to Southwestern University where he plans to study Biology/Pre-medicine. He says: “The teacher who had the most influence on my life was my 9th grade Sports Science & Health teacher (Xavier Calvaire), which I took when I was attending the Ermitage International School of France. He used to tell me about the potential that I had to have a positive mood on others. That I could use my talent to change others, in a good way. That not only was I athletic, but I had the natural gift of being able to lead others. I think about this advice quite often, and I try as much as I can to have a good influence on others.” 

Natalie Atkinson – St. Mark Lutheran School, Valley Oaks Elementary School, Spring Branch Middle School, Memorial High School 

Natalie Atkinson is heading to the University of Houston, where she’ll study Speech Therapy. She says: “My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Sandy Ouslander, was the sweetest woman I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I remember how she would never give up on teaching me how to tie my shoes even when I was following behind. I remember she would stay with my inside during recess to help me practice and I never felt discouraged with her around. I appreciate the kindness she shined on everyone and from that I knew who I wanted to be like as a grown-up.” 

Olivia Baba – School at St. George Place, Pin Oak Middle School, Bellaire High School

Olivia Baba is heading to Texas A&M University, where she’ll major in International Studies with a Pre-Law focus. She says: “One teacher who changed my life was Ms. Ardell Chance Siegel. She was my third grade teacher at the School at St. George Place. Ms. Siegel helped me find a love for reading and showed me that learning could be enjoyable. She inspired me to believe in myself.” 

Ava Barcelo – St. Thomas’ Episcopal 

Ava Barcelo is off to Texas A&M University, where she’ll study Neuroscience. She says: “Andrew Hughes, St. Thomas Episcopal. 12th grade AP Psychology and high school College Counselor. He told me that no matter where I decide to continue my future, there is a plan for me. He told me to always hope for the best but also to stay practical.”

Michael Bell – Condit Elementary School, The Kinkaid School

Michael Bell is off to Duke University, where he’ll study Physics. He says: “Dr. Clay Anderson was my Junior year Physics I teacher. It was in his Philosophy of Physics interim class that I fell in love with theoretical astro/particle physics. Thank you, Dr. Anderson, for sharing with me your passion for theory and exploration–you changed the way I view the physical world around me!”

Luke Bennett – Sacred Heart Catholic School, St. Thomas High School

Luke Bennett is heading to The University of Texas at Austin, where he’ll study Civil Engineering. He says: “My math teacher, Mrs. Jennifer Pearson, my freshman and sophomore year teacher, has been my most influential by far. I took Algebra and Geometry from her and she has truly helped me love math and sparked my interest in engineering.”

Noah Berry – Beth Yeshurun Day School, The Emery/Weiner School 

Noah Berry is heading to Cal Poly, where he’ll study Business and play Division 1 Tennis. He says: “The teacher that changed my life was Ralf Nawfal. He was my 8th grade teacher when I did homeschool year at a special tennis academy. Not only did he help me become the best student I could, but he helped shape the person that I’ve become.”

Peter Berry – The Beth Yeshurun Day School, The Emery/Weiner School 

Peter Berry is heading to The University of Alabama, where he’ll study General Business. He’s looking forward to playing wheelchair basketball at the collegiate level and is excited to meet new people and create new experiences. He says: “One teacher who has changed my life is Ralf Nawfal. Ralf has been a tutor/mentor of mine for my middle and high school years and has answered every question I have. He has taught me many things in regards to academic, shared stories to give me perspective, and has gifted me many valuable lessons about life in general.”

Vaughn Beyer – Briargrove Elementary School, Memorial Middle School, Stratford High School 

Vaughn Beyer is headed to The University of Mississippi to study Business. He says: “My 6th grade math teacher, Carol Lisch, had the biggest impact on me because she taught me good work ethic that I've used in and out of school.”

Morgan Brandt – The Beth Yeshurun Day School, The Emery/Weiner School

Morgan Brandt is off to Pace University in NYC, where she’ll study Arts and Entertainment Management. She dreams of becoming a well-known Broadway casting director. She says: “One teacher that changed my life was Jennifer Bauer-Conley at The Emery/Weiner School. She was my theater arts teacher for 11th and 12th grade and my musical theater director. She pushed me in my craft more than I had been pushed into anything, and she taught me a lot of things about myself.” 

Annie Brownfield – West University Elementary School, Pin Oak Middle School, Bellaire High School 

Annie Brownfield is off to University of South Carolina. Annie says: “Mrs. Ann Linsley, Environmental Science Teacher and IB Director at Bellaire High School, helped me become more aware of the environmentally aware. She also helped me allocate my time and challenged me to do my best work. She really cares about her students.” 

Tommy Brownfield – West U Elementary, Pin Oak Middle School, St. Thomas High School

Tommy Brownfield is heading to Stephen F. Austin State University. Tommy says: “Mr. Brett Mills, history teacher. He tells wonderful stories and made history come alive. I'm taking his class as an elective this semester. Also, Mr. Rod Takacs for his leadership, understanding and acceptance of teenage boys.”

Julianna Cantrell – Horn Elementary School, Pershing Middle School, Bellaire High School

Julianna Cantrell is off to Texas Tech University, where she’ll study Psychology. She says: “My sophomore year at Bellaire high school I had an amazing teacher, Jennifer Blessington, as my English teacher. She changed my life because she showed me that no matter what hit me, anywhere I went, all I had to do is look around and I can find a friend.”

Ben Dauber – Condit Elementary, Pin Oak Middle, The Emery/Weiner School 

Ben Dauber is heading to Vanderbilt University, where he’ll study Mechanical Engineering. His dream would be to work as a NASA engineer. He says: “Mr. Brandon Kirby [Design Engineering, Robotics; Junior and Senior Year at Emery] changed my life because he was the teacher to help me develop my interest in engineering.” 

Madison Dodson – Horn Elementary, Trafton Academy, Bellaire High School 

Madison Dodson is off to The University of Alabama where she will take on Pre-Med/Biomedical Science. She dreams of becoming a doctor in pediatrics one day. She says: “My Bellaire High School AP Biology teacher Ms. Ashlyn Mills inspired me to pursue a career in Biomedical Research. She helped me see that biology is fun and exciting!” 

Lauren Dotson - Kolter Elementary, Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Lauren Dotson is off to Trinity University, where she will study Bioengineering. She says: “World Geography in Mr. Deric Barber's sixth grade class at Johnston Middle School was the place to be. Specifically, his 7th period, we had all the fun exploring cultures, religions, ethics and, of course, geography. It was his class that I discovered my love for philosophy and morality; Mr. Barber sparked my interest into Ethics Bowl which I've pursued for the past 7 years. And through all the years, he's been at my team’s side, playing devil's advocate, and being our, my, biggest supporter and mentor.”

Jonathan Frumovitz – The Kinkaid School

Jonathan Frumovitz is off to University of Pennsylvania. He says: “My 3rd grade teacher, Miss Alia [Al-Mutawa]. She gave me a love for language and inspired me to never stop looking for answers.” 

Thomas Fuller – Condit Elementary School, Pin Oak Middle School, St. Thomas High School

Thomas Fuller is heading to Texas Tech University; his major is undeclared but he knows he’s interested in a job in the marketing field. He says: “St. Thomas High School History teacher, Mr. Brett Mills, taught me life lessons other than just history, like the importance of being a good person.”

Matthew Galli – Mark Twain Elementary School, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, St. Thomas High School, Lamar High School

Matthew Galli is heading to The University of Texas at Austin, where he will study Neuroscience and Psychology. He says: “Mr. John Kwok, Geometry at STHS.” 

Alessandra Garofalo - St. Michael’s Catholic School, Spring Branch Middle School, Memorial High School

Alessandra Garofalo is heading to Texas A&M University, where she’ll study Business/Finance. She says: “Ms. Nicole Hart is a geometry teacher at Memorial High School. I never had her as my teacher, but I ate lunch in her classroom every day of junior and senior year. Because she opened her classroom to us junior year, I made some lasting friendships.”

Gabby Garofalo - St. Michael’s Catholic School, Spring Branch Middle School, Memorial High School 

Gabby Garofalo is off to the University of Mississippi, where she’ll study Business. She says: “Laree Stone [11th grade US history at Memorial High School] because she taught me the importance of detail and how to work with others better.” 

Isaac Gateno – Robert M. Beren Academy 

Isaac Gateno is heading to University of Pennsylvania, where he’ll study Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. He dreams of becoming a Constitutional Lawyer. He says: “Benjamin Cell, Robert M. Beren Academy, 9th-12th Grade, Social Studies. Although Mr. Cell's classes have been my hardest throughout high school, I can safely say I've learned more in his classes than in any other. The books, articles, and podcasts he assigns cover a wide array of topics, ranging from the class subject to current events and global politics. Without Mr. Cell, I would be nowhere near as educated on the state of our world as I am today.”

Sophia Ghauri – The Kinkaid School

Sophia Ghauri is heading to Brown University, where she will study International and Public Affairs. She says: “My favorite teacher would have to be 3rd grade teacher Ms. Alia Al-Mutawa at Kinkaid. She not only introduced me to the joys of reading, but also to the joys of Shakespeare. I can still remember the huge feast and ball she organized in her classroom so we reenact [the] ball scene from Romeo and Juliet.”

Olivia Golub – The Shlenker School, The Emery/Weiner School 

Olivia Golub is headed to Tulane University. She’s undecided on her major but knows she’d love to be a photo journalist one day. She says; “Mr. James Simmons in 4th grade at The Shlenker School. He was my first male teacher. He taught us math and history. He challenged us to work harder, to believe in our abilities and to never give up. He also always made history come alive and math seem fun!”

Johnathan Gooden – Yellowstone Academy, Second Baptist School

Johnathan Gooden is heading to University of Houston to study Business. He says: “Kim Hansen at Yellowstone Academy from Kindergarten - 8th grade. Even though I finished Yellowstone Academy in middle school, Ms. Hansen contacted me almost weekly throughout high school to encourage me and provide helpful advice.”

John Groff – St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, St. Thomas High School 

John Groff is heading to Texas Tech University where he’ll pursue Pre-Law/Political Science. He says: “The teacher whose influence I will remember the most is Mr. Steve Pothier who was my English teacher both first and second semester junior year. Through his comments and constructive criticisms, I became a better writer. Not only did he help with my writing skills, but he was also my favorite teacher while I was at high school.”

Penelope Hertoghe - Angelusinstituut of Brussels (Brussels), St. George's British International School, Rome (Rome), The Awty International School

Penelope Hertoghe is heading to University of Brussels, where she’ll study Business Engineering. She says: “My French literature teacher as a freshman, Ms. Laure Vermeulen, illustrated how passion can be blended with work and that really drove me forward for my next years in high school. Her passion was contagious, and it motivated me to be curious of all challenges that came up in life in regards to academics, athletics, or other disciplines. I hope to find this balance in my future job as well.”

Travis Ho – T.H. Rogers School; St. John’s School 

Travis Ho is heading to Vanderbilt University, where he plans to major in Cognitive Studies. He says: “Donna Lambert taught me in 1st grade at T.H. Rogers. She taught me the importance of being meticulous in my work and not making careless errors. She was compassionate about teaching and loved her students. I will always remember her attending my Bellaire Little League games at the Jessamine field to cheer for me.”

Rachel James – Condit Elementary School, Trafton Academy, Second Baptist School

Rachel James is heading to Texas A&M University, where she’ll major in Business. She says: “My freshman and junior English teacher at Second Baptist School, Mrs. Shannon Brooks, has had a major impact on both my academic and personal life. She pushed me in my studies while investing in me and becoming a mentor in my life. I truly believe high school would have been much duller without her!”

Alec Jazaeri - Meriwether Lewis Elementary (Charlottesville, VA), River Oaks Baptist School, St. John’s School

Alec Jazaeri is off to Sewanee and plans to study Economics and English. He says: “Dr. [Kristiane] Stapleton, Junior year AP English. She taught me great writing skills. We had a good relationship and the class changed the way I see the world.” 

Reagan Jones – Coldwell Elementary School (El Paso), Pershing Middle School, Lamar High School 

Reagan Jones is heading to Houston Community College/University of Housotn where she’ll study Visual & Performing Arts/Acting. She says: “Mr. Tyrone Chambers. 10th Grade. Business Management. I enjoyed his class every period because he talked to us about real life & tied it into our lessons. He didn’t pester us about turning in work because according to him, 'if you don’t turn it in, your fault'. He gave us glimpses of what life is like after high school and that's what every student needs - not to be taught how to pass a test.” 

Reagan Kimzey – Horn Elementary, Pershing Middle School, Bellaire High School 

Reagan Kimzey is headed to Macalester College, where she plans to major in Liberal Arts. She says: “Ms. Elizabeth Chapman! She was my freshman year English teacher. She was so intelligent and cared about her job and her students so much. I learned a lot in her class, but also from her outside of class concerning social justice and human rights, and she really sparked my interest in feminism and politics. Ms. Chapman also helped me study abroad in Hyderabad, India, and I am forever grateful to her for that as well!”

Abbie Kleban – Beth Yeshurun Day School, The Emery/Weiner School

Abbie Kleban is off to Penn State University, where she’ll study Sports Medicine/Athletic Training. She says; “Over the years I have had many great teachers but my 11th grade English teacher at Emery Weiner changed me as a student. Most of my school years I was shy about speaking out in class - Jennifer Williams gave me the confidence to realize I had a voice worth listening to.”

Claire Lemel – Hamilton Elementary School, The Emery/Weiner School 

Claire Lemel is heading to University of Colorado Boulder, where she’ll study Communications. She says: “Lauren Dunbar- 2nd Grade English and 4th grade Science. She was always there for me when I needed her. She was so kind and she always had a warm hug waiting for me in the morning.” 

Audrey Leonard – Condit Elementary School, St. Mark’s Episcopal School, St. Agnes Academy

Audrey Leonard is off to Texas A&M University where she’ll study Public Health. She says: “Coach Fred Silverman at St. Mark’s helped me so much in middle school. He gave me the motivation to do my best in volleyball and helped me realize my potential as a player.”

Madelyn Lewis – Mark Twain Elementary School, Lanier Middle School, Bellaire High School 

Madelyn Lewis is heading to Texas A&M University, where she’ll study Bioenvironmental Sciences. She plans to pursue a career in which she can help preserve the Earth. She says: “Amy Solberg was my choir director sophomore through senior year. She believed in me and showed me every day. Ms. Solberg taught me many things in class, but she also led by example as an independent, strong, powerful woman. She showed me to be confident in my voice and opinions, and she told me they were worth listening to.”

Anna Macia – Condit Elementary School, Pin Oak Middle School, Webber Academy (Canada), Bellaire High School

Anna Macia is off to University of Texas at Austin, where she’ll study Biomedical Engineering. She says: “My first yearbook advisers at Bellaire, Joseph Holloway and Patti Simon, helped me learn to work hard persistently and grow from constructive criticism throughout my sophomore and junior year. Their encouragement helped me realize my own potential and have the confidence to grow into a very capable leader.”

Emily Madaras – Wilchester Elementary School, Memorial Middle School, Stratford High School

Emily Madaras is heading to Rice University, where she’ll study Biochemistry and Cell Biology. She’s graduating high school three years early. She says: “Ms. Deborah Owens (AP World History, 10th grade) changed me as a student because her class was the first I'd ever had that actually encouraged thinking through and analyzing material. My mind has always worked in that way, connecting concepts and ideas to form a story of sorts, but I never realized what I could do with it until her class.”

Reeti Mangal – Annunciation Orthodox School, St. John’s School 

Reeti Mangal is heading to Cornell University, where she’ll study Global and Public Health Sciences. She says: “Ms. Roxie Allen from St. John’s School changed my life. I had her during Honors Chemistry my sophomore year and AP Chemistry my junior year. She always supported me and checked in on me throughout the years, making sure I knew someone care about me.” 

Liza Meyer – Condit Elementary School, Pin Oak Middle School, The Emery/Weiner School

Liza Meyer is heading to The University of Texas at Austin, where she’ll study Biology/Pre-Med. Her dream is to become a plastic surgeon one day. She says: “Ms. Heidi Tarr, Emery 11th grade AP biology teacher. She allowed me to discover my passion for biology because she spent a lot of helpful one-on-one time with me and gave me many out-of-school resources. She also gave me opportunities for dissections, which made me realize I wanted to be a surgeon.” 

Alex Monson – Rummel Creek Elementary School, Memorial Middle School, Memorial High School

Alex Monson is off to Trinity University, where he’ll take on Pre-Medical studies. He says: “Mrs. Tracy Purvis, who I had in both my Junior and Senior years in the HOSA program. She helped open the world of medicine to me and showed me how amazing it could be.” 

Gabrielle Monson – Rummel Creek Elementary School, Memorial Middle School, Memorial High School

Gabrielle Monson is off to University of Oklahoma where she will study Sports Management. She says: “Heather Brooks, Memorial High School, Markette director; Mrs. Brooks always modeled problem solving under pressure, empathy, and patience when leading the team. Which in turn made me a better leader because I had her to look up to.”

Genna Montalbano – Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart 

Genna Montalbano is off to University of Texas at Austin or Texas A&M University to study Communications. She says: “Melanie Rhode, my fourth grade teacher at Duchesne. She made coming to school everyday fun! She established great relationships with all of her students and found humor in all that we did.”

Jared Orkin – The Kinkaid School

Jared Orkin is heading to The University of Texas at Austin, where he’ll study Business. He says: “Mr. [Jorge] Buitrago for Honors Precalculus in 11th Grade at Kinkaid. He told me I am an amazing person and that he knows I work hard in his class and that I should never give up on trying to perform well in his class. I thought this was also great advice for life. I just need to be the best person I am and success will always come from that.”

Eugenie Pflieger – Epiphany Day School, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, The British International School of Houston

Eugenie Pflieger is off to George Washington University, where she’ll be part of the Women's Leadership Program and she’ll study Biology. She says: “My IB Biology teacher, Katherine Wilson, at British International School of Houston definitely changed my life, because she helped me to discover the relationship between my passions and work toward my goals. Before I started taking her class, I never truly knew what I wanted to study at university. Additionally, I never saw science as a big part of my identity. After day one, I could see biology had a close connection to some of my pre-existing passions like music. Ms. Wilson helped me to understand my academic identity in a way that made me excited to learn more.”

Margot Purdie – Poe Elementary School, Pin Oak Middle School, Lamar High School 

Margot Purdie is heading to Austin Community College, where she will major in Human Dimensions of Organization. She’s always dreamed of attending University of Texas at Austin and she plans to work hard to transfer to become a Longhorn. She says: “Mr. Raymond Gayle. His two year film course (junior and senior year) at Lamar High School taught me how to express myself in different ways. To me, filmmaking is an art, a lifestyle, and a powerful tool to communicate to others. My film teacher truly guided me throughout this whole process and I am extremely grateful for him and his ability to open my eyes to how film can change the world.”

Joshua Rassin – Mark Twain Elementary School, Pershing Middle School, Lamar High School 

Joshua Rassin is off to Washington & Lee University where he’ll study Business/Entrepreneurship and play tennis on the W&L team. He says: “The teacher who most changed my life is my dad [Keith Rassin]. He was not a teacher in one of my schools but does teach at the University of Houston. He tutored me in math and science all four years of high school and has helped prepare me for life.”

Nathan Reichert - Horn Elementary School, Pin Oak Middle School, Episcopal High School 

Nathan Reichert is off to Tufts University, where he plans to major in Political Science/International Relations. He says: “My 11th grade AP US History teacher Mr. Travis Smith changed my outlook on myself when he repeatedly told me how smart I am, boosting my self-confidence and molding me into the person I am today: someone who doesn’t care what people think and is confident in his abilities to do the right thing.”

Drew Rentz – St. Thomas’ Episcopal School, St. Thomas High School 

Drew Rentz is off to University of Texas at Austin, where he’ll study Electrical Engineering. He says: “Mr. [Ryno] Marais, my 8th grade math teacher. He made me realize that I like math and I can excel in it!”

Eduardo Salomon - The Awty International School 

Eduardo Salomon is off to Northeastern University, where he’ll study Business. He says: “Paul Emmanuel Deyrieux changed the way I approached my life every day. He teaches economics at The Awty International School. His energy and passion for what he does is something I wish to have in the future.”

Abigail Shelby – Condit Elementary School, Pin Oak Middle School, St. Agnes Academy

Abigail Shelby is heading to Villanova University, where she will be part of the Villanova Women’s water polo team. She says: “Kaitlin Kelley, my high school water polo coach. She is like my school mom. She supports and encourages me and is always there when I need to vent or need someone to talk to.”

Dania Siddiqi - St. Mark’s Episcopal School, St. Agnes Academy

Dania Siddiqi is off to University of Chicago and plans to major in Cinema and Media Studies. She says: “Mr. [Garhett] Wagers - 8th grade - St. Mark’s Episcopal School - He taught me how to be confident while speaking publicly and also be comfortable being myself. I owe so much of my growth as a person to him.”

Meira Silverman – Beth Yeshurun Day School, Robert M. Beren Academy, Bellaire High School 

Meira Silverman is off to The University of Missouri, where she’ll study Pre-Physical Therapy; her dream is to be a Physical Therapist. She says: “A teacher who has changed my life is Riana Sherman. She was my first grade teacher at Beth Yeshurun. I have known Ms. Sherman since I was about 2 years old and to have had her as my teacher was a blessing. Whenever I see her, it is like no time has gone by and she always reminds me of how proud she is of my accomplishments.” 

Claire Sonne – Grace School, Second Baptist School, McCullough Middle School, Incarnate Word Academy

Claire Sonne is heading to the College of Charleston where she plans to double major in Psychology and Theatre. She says: “The biology teacher at my school, Mr. Stephen Comer. I never had the chance for him to actually be my teacher, but he decided to join the theatre program where he taught me that sometimes family isn’t always those you share blood with.”

Jordan Stein – Scarsdale Elementary (NY), Scarsdale Middle (NY), The Emery/Weiner School

Jordan Stein is off to University of Texas at Austin. He dreams of becoming a biomedical engineer one day. He says: “Dr. David Lombardi was my 11th grade English teacher, and the first one to make me enjoy the subject. He changed who I was as a reader, a writer, and in run, a student.” 

Julia Strug – Beth Yeshurun Day School, The Emery/Weiner School

Julia Strug is off to Illinois Wesleyan University where she’ll work toward a BFA in Acting with a double minor in Dance and Film. She says: “Jennifer Bauer-Conley - Emery Weiner - Fine Arts Director and Theatre I & II teacher (freshman year). She has given me opportunities to grow and become a strong leader in the theatre community (as a dance captain, assistant choreographer, assistant music director, and director) and has pushed me to become the performer I am today.”

Tyler Therriault - Campbell Elementary School, The Westview School, The Briarwood School

Tyler Therriault is off to The University of Houston to study Computer Information Systems. He says: “Nicholas Demaio at the Briarwood School, in the 12th grade, for Pre-Calculus. This is the teacher that truly sparked my interest in mathematics and is the reason why I went from hating math to enjoying it.”

Christina Vignet – The Anglo American School of Moscow, Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro, The Village School

Christina Vignet is off to Bocconi University (Milan, Italy) where she’ll work toward a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance and Economics. She says: “Susie Hays from The Village School changed my life. Although working in the admin hallway, she stepped in and taught the Private Equity and Venture Capital course my senior year. I had known her for a few years beforehand, and it was truly an amazing experience. She always looks at the good in others, treats you with motherly love, and supports you throughout all your endeavors.”

Leigh Vo – Condit Elementary School, Horn Elementary School, Pin Oak Middle School, Bellaire High School

Leigh Vo is heading to Syracuse University, where she’ll dual major in Business and Communications. She says: “Geometry has been my least favorite subject. Yet, that wasn't my teacher's fault. I just couldn't grasp the subject as easily as everyone else. Looking back, Dr. [Gail] Hamilton didn't sugarcoat anything, though it hurt to know that I was bad at math, she simply would just tell the truth, plain and simple. She made me realize that you can't be great at everything, and that's fine, but being lazy isn't an option. She helped me change my mentality on school and ultimately helped me become more prepared for life's obstacles. (Pin Oak Middle School, 8th grade, Geometry, Dr. Gail Hamilton)” 

Lauren Walker - Roberts Elementary School, Pin Oak Middle School, Bellaire High School  

Lauren Walker is heading to Texas A&M University, where she’ll major in Architectural Engineering. She says: “Kay Kubena was my pre-calculus and AP statistics teacher and hosted my independent study calculus 3 class. She was my teacher from 10th to 12th grade and was the teacher I was the closest to. She helped me emotionally get through high school, especially after the trauma Bellaire students experienced in January of this year. She was someone I could always talk to no matter what, gave amazing advice, and is the reason I want to be a teacher.”

Madeleine Wildt – Washington Elementary School (NJ), Pershing Middle School, Bellaire High School

Madeleine Wildt is heading to Colorado State University, where she’ll study Biology. She says: “Dan Garcia, 5th grade teacher at Washington elementary school who changed my whole perspective on learning. In 5th grade I kept getting Ds in math, but he encouraged me and told me not to give up and that he knew I could do it.” 

Tyler Woods - Fiest Elementary School, Smith Middle School, The Village School 

Tyler Woods is heading to Hardin Simmons University, where he’ll major in fitness, recreation and sports management and play football. He says: “Coach [Kevon] Bagot at Village. Without him, I’d have no future.”

Conner Young – Condit Elementary School, Trafton Academy, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory

Conner Young is heading to Rhodes College where he’ll study Business and play college football. He says: “A teacher who changed my life was Coach Bill Johnson at Condit Elementary. He taught my PE class from kindergarten to 5th grade and he along with his PE class was a huge part of me loving sports and realizing my passion for competition.”

People in this article: 
Xavier Calvaire, Sandy Ouslander, Ardell Chance Siegel, Andrew Hughes, Clay Anderson, Jennifer Pearson, Ralf Nawfal, Carol Lisch, Jennifer Bauer-Conley, Ann Linsley, Brett Mills, Jennifer Blessington, Brandon Kirby, Ashlyn Mills, Deric Barber, Alia Al-Mutawa, John Kwok, Nicole Hart, Laree Stone, Benjamin Cell, Steve Pothier, James Simmons, Laure Vermuelen, Donna Lambert, Kristiane Stapleton, Elizabeth Chapman, Shannon Brooks, Tyrone Chambers, Jennifer Williams, Lauren Dunbar, Fred Silverman, Amy Solberg, Joseph Holloway, Patti Simon, Deborah Owens, Roxie Allen, Heidi Tarr, Melanie Rhode, Tracy Purvis, Heather Brooks, Jorge Buitrago, Katherine Wilson, Raymond Gayle, Keith Rassin, Travis Smith, Ryno Marais, Nicholas Demaio, Paul Emmanuel Deyrieux, Kaitlin Kelley, Garhett Wagers, Riana Sherman, David Lombardi, Stephen Comer, Susie Hays, Gail Hamilton, Kay Kubena, Dan Garcia, Kevon Bagot, Bill Johnson, Kim Hansen, Eyimofe Ariyo, Natalie Atkinson, Olivia Baba, Ava Barcelo, Michael Bell, Luke Bennett, Noah Berry, Peter Berry, Vaughn Beyer, Morgan Brandt, Annie Brownfield, Tommy Brownfield, Julianna Cantrell, Spenser Dale, Ben Dauber, Madison Dodson, Lauren Dotson, Jonathan Frumovitz, Thomas Fuller, Matthew Galli, Alessandra Garofalo, Gabby Garofalo, Isaac Gateno, Sophia Ghauri, John Groff, Olivia Golub, Penelope Hertoghe, Travis Ho, Alec Jazaeri, Reagan Kimzey, Rachel James, Reagan Jones, Abbie Kleban, Claire Lemel, Audrey Leonard, Madelyn Lewis, Anna Macia, Emily Madaras, Reeti Mangal, Liza Meyer, Genna Montalbano, Alex Monson, Gabrielle Monson, Jared Orkin, Eugenie Pflieger, Margot Purdie, Joshua Rassin, Nathan Reichert, Drew Rentz, Tyler Therriault, Eduardo Salomon, Abigail Shelby, Dania Siddiqi, Meira Silverman, Jordan Stein, Claire Sonne, Julia Strug, Christina Vignet, Leigh Vo, Lauren Walker, Madeleine Wildt, Tyler Woods, Conner Young

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