Student Nomination Story

Janelle is not only a teacher, but has become a best friend and mother to me. I lost my mother when I was eight years old and felt empty for so long. From the first day of EMT class my senior year of high school I knew she was something special. She pours her heart into her students. She told us, “If you need me no matter what time of day or what is going on you call me. Whether you are having a personal crisis, are in a bad situation or if you’ve made a bad decision and need someone to drive you home; call me.” She has two wonderful daughters in which she has on multiple occasions entrusted into my care. With that being said she treats her students like her own children. My junior and senior year we lost around 11 students to suicide, overdose, or car accidents. No matter what Janelle knew how to help us get through it. She read us children stories (which sounds cheesy for a senior student) but we all loved it. She would even change her voices for the different people in the story. If she saw I was struggling she would pull me aside and ask me if I was okay. Multiple times I cried in her arms and she told me it would be okay. I went through a very traumatic situation and I confided in her. She did not blame me, or ask if I had put myself in that position. She looked at me like a mother and cried for me. Once again she told me how strong I was and even though right in that moment I felt weak and useless, I was powerful, strong, and beautiful. Her favorite quote is, “without change we wouldn’t have butterflies” to this day that still sticks with me. We went on a trip to Springfield Illinois for a competition, she ironed our clothes for us and gave us our double checks. She gave us confidence in everything we did. And yes we messed up, we made mistakes but never once did she turn her back on us. Through our time in class together her mother was very ill. Unless she had told me, I never would have known. At the end of the year her mother unfortunately passed away and she had the most beautiful strength and dignity through that. She is someone I will forever aspire to be. No matter where I am in life no matter the distance no matter the time passed by I will always love her, as a teacher, a mentor, and a mother. She constantly, even now, tells me how proud she is of me, and has her doors of her home open for me. I can not think of anyone more deserving of an award than this beautiful woman.

Rebekah Kinney

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