Student Nomination Story

I moved to Santa Fe High my sophomore year from a private prep school, and it was a big change. Classes were a lot less challenging but his AP European history class is what kept me coming to school. At the beginning of the year I remember he stood in front of the class and introduced it as challenging, but through the year he helped all of us through it. Not only that, but his constant dedication to teaching inspired me to actually enjoy a history class, a new theme for me. I got so into the class, not because of the material but because of the instruction. I would write down lists of questions about European history and go talk to him about them, and through the study of history and his explanations of political, social, and economic structures he inspired me to look more into government and develop my own political views. In class Caldwell is always the devil's advocate; in his AP government and economics class he always stands up for the conservative side, pointing out alternating perspectives in our very liberal hometown. He not only provides students with facts, but he works hard to instill a global, well-rounded, and respectful view of the world in those he teaches. I have never tried to steer away from stereotypes more than when I remind myself of his non-partisan nature, his fair teaching, and the attention he pays to every viewpoint and student. Caldwell does not let the boundaries of the classroom stop him. As his teachers aide this year he coached me through the college application process and helped me develop more complex ideas when it came to politics and economics, specific areas I am now thinking of going into. He humored my obsession with Napoleon, weighing the pros and cons of historical empires with me beyond class hours. Additionally, when it came to college applications there were times I felt like giving up. There were times I felt like giving up on school all together and when I would voice these complaints Caldwell was always there to remind me about the topics I love and about the passion for learning I have. Without his AP European history class my sophomore year I might not have made it through the school year, and without his encouragement this year and his constant dedication to an achievement of well-rounded understanding I would not be the person and scholar I am today. I got the chance to study at Harvard this summer in a summer program. I take dual credits now in many topics such as economics and ethics at our local community college. These are all academic and personal opportunities I would not have been pushed to do without Carlos Caldwell. It is more than any inspiration I could get from just a class or a subject, the inspiration Caldwell instills in his students has to do with their want to be better people, people like Caldwell. Santa Fe Public School teachers do not face an easy task and they combat the weaknesses of a failing education system every day. Nevertheless, Caldwell has always stayed positive and brought a rejuvenating energy into the classroom. We made gummy bear governments in AP Gov that illustrated the organizations of government on a global scale, and after we take tests Caldwell will debate the answers to FRQs with me for entire periods. Additionally, whenever I get frustrated with other students Caldwell always reminds me to put myself in their shoes. Never for a single day has Caldwell regretted his position as a Santa Fe Public School Teacher, a notoriously difficult and under recognized job, and without Caldwell I think many of the AP students at Santa Fe High would have little motivation and direction. Caldwell is a underrated teacher and deserves the recognition a fantastic instructor and mentor should get. It is because of him I will be applying to Ivy League and top 20 schools this year with a good chance of getting in, it is because of him I feel a passion towards international relations and renewable global economic future, and it is because of Caldwell I will make it out of Santa Fe and onto a brighter future. When I think of people who have pushed me in my academic and personal journey, no name stands out more than that of Carlos Caldwell.

Mirabai Venkatesh

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.