Student Nomination Story

As I walked into Arrowhead junior year bawling my eyes out, I knew who to go to. I found Aubrey and she took me to her mom’s room where she worked with the special ed students. She took time out of her morning and from her students to focus on me. This made me feel like I had a place at school and that someone actually cared. When I was seven, I met Ms. Hamilton through volleyball, because I played with her daughter Aubrey. She has always been a mom figure in my life. She is able to help calm me down and she just listens to me, but she also knows the perfect time to give me advice. From freshman year she told my parents I was hanging out with the wrong friend group, and that I was going to get myself in trouble. My parents didn’t know my friends but Ms. Hamilton (being a teacher) knew everything. Being a stubborn high schooler, I took this as her being out to get me. Looking back, I see she was right... Ms. Hamilton pushed me to be the best, not only as a volleyball player but as a student too. Last year, as a junior, I decided to play volleyball in college. When she told me “you can do it,” I knew I could. Ms. Hamilton was a star basketball player at the University of Notre Dame and has never lost her love for sports, as she still coaches today. Over spring break last year, when I committed, she was the first person I told. Her support, emotions, joy, and encouragement made me realize I made the right decision. This past high school season was difficult because I did not see the court as much as I wanted to, even though I was working hard in practice. Ms. Hamilton supported me and told me, “just keep your head up, and you know how good you are.” I remember the first conference game I was put in, Ms. Hamilton stood and cheered so loudly over the crowd just for me. Support from her was unconditional and helped me in my darkest times. So thank you, Ms. Hamilton, for being the person I can bawl my eyes out to. You are the reason I have been able to push myself to the next level and pursue my dream of playing volleyball in college. I know even when I am gone I can still text or call you, and you will answer. I truly believe that I am the person I am today because of your love and support.

Josie Salzman

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