The students described their teachers during the annual Teacher Appreciation Banquet held at the church Friday evening. The banquet honored 29 teachers of children belonging to the church.
But perhaps the highest accolade given a teacher at the banquet came from student Chance Puffer, who said his teacher, Christine Stuart, “makes me want to be a teacher.”
In a video taped beforehand, each student shared what they most appreciated about their teachers. Many made those in attendance laugh. Some were funny, other thoughtful. All seemed to show a real appreciation for the work of teachers.
Each teacher received a plaque and a gift for their dedication, and a hug from their student.
Davis School District Assistant Superintendent Craig Poll said a recent report showed teachers were the number one influence in a person’s success in life. A recent study showed it was parental support which most contributed to a person’s later success. “The truth is, parents and teachers together help to make success. Great teacher and great support from home both make for success,” Poll said.
The Rev. Alex Lucero, senior pastor at the church spoke of significance, asking teachers to strive for significance in the lives of students. “If you can make a student feel significant, you can change the chain of events in their lives.”
He told the moving story of Teddy Stoller, which Lucero said tells the great impact a teacher can have.
The boy who was messy, dirty and didn’t interact well with other kids hadn’t always been like that, his teacher Mrs. Thompson found. He had been bright, neat and well mannered.
But the boy had seen a lot of tragedy in his life, including his mother’s death. By fourth grade he was withdrawn and disinterested in school.
At Christmas, the students each brought a gift to Mrs. Thompson. Teddy’s was a bottle of perfume that had been mostly used up and a bracelet with some of the rhinestones missing. The other kids made fun of Teddy, but Mrs. Thompson made a show of putting on the bracelet and dabbing the perfume on her wrists.After school, Teddy told his teacher she smelled like his mother used to.
That produced a change in Mrs. Thompson. “That very day she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children,” Lucero shared.
She paid particular attention to Teddy, and found that he came alive. A year later she found a note under her door from Teddy, thanking her and saying she was the best teacher he’d ever had.
Lucero said that six years later, she got another note from Teddy. He wrote that he had finished high school, second in his class. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that he’d stayed in school while things had been tough, he would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors.
Then four more years passed and another letter came. This time Teddy said that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter said Mrs. Thompson was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoller, M.D.
Mrs. Thompson received another letter that spring saying he was to be married. Teddy said his father had died, and he asked Mrs. Thompson to attend the wedding and sit where his mother would have sat.
When he hugged her after the ceremony, he thanked her for making him feel he could make a difference. She, with tears in her eyes told him that it was he who had made a difference in her life.
“You have to believe you can make a difference,” Lucero told the teachers. “If you can touch them, they become significant.”