Being a Black student in Texas means I am always under attack. The majority of our teachers are white women who only see students that look like me as trouble-makers to be dealt with, and not scholars to be nurtured. It is difficult to focus on school subjects when the other students are constantly telling you you don't belong here because of your racial and ethnic background and won't invite you to their birthday parties because of your differences.
Ms. Schlitz is a very open and accepting teacher. She believed in me when no one else did. She can be tough, but she holds her students accountable because no matter their race, gender identity, or political ideology, she believes that we are all here for a wonderful purpose and takes the time to get to know every student and design assignments for them.
One time I was feeling defeated because I thought math just wasn't for me. She shared with me her struggle with math, and encouraged me to keep trying. She encouraged me to do MORE math because that was the only way I would get better and more comfortable. I followed her advice, and her example, and now I have completed college math and I'm only 14 years old which is a high-school freshman.
I know Ms. Schlitz has touched many lives just by being great. As a role model, she has paved the way for other girls of color to follow in her footsteps as the youngest woman to ever get a law degree in this country. She is also the youngest Black person to get a law degree in this country and when you hear her speak, she'll tell you that like our Vice-President Harris, she "eats no for breakfast." That means, she does not listen to people who tell her what she cannot do. By being a good mentor and excellent role-model, I am also able to believe in myself and "eat no for breakfast."
Ms. Schlitz is truly a great teacher and I'm sure her entire class and all the students she teaches and tutors will agree.
Hana Gadu Taylor