Student Nomination Story

Mrs. Gump is one of the most outstanding, caring, committed, and loving teachers that I have ever encountered. She loves each child for who they are, and recognizes their individual needs immediately. Jena also runs our student ambassador program, is a wife and mom of 2, helps the PTO with every event put on in the school, is a dedicated member of our parish, and is always available to lend an ear and advice with a smile. I had an incredibly difficult relationship with my daughter when she entered first grade. She screamed every morning about her shoes and her socks not being "right", no matter how many shoes or socks I purchased. She didn't want to brush her hair or tuck in her shirt. I used to bring her into the classroom with tears in my own exasperated and exhausted eyes with my newborn son in my arms. My daughter shaped right up when she saw her teacher, because after a couple days of seeing the same thing over and over- Jena told her that she could not treat her mother this way, that her mom was doing her very best. She put my child's shoes on her feet, sat her in her chair, and there wasn't another word for until the next morning. My daughter, Sophie, talked about her teacher every single day the entire year. Every time I gave her a piece of life advice that I had thought through and was proud to be able to provide her on the home front, she retorted that "my teacher has already told me that lots of times." I still go to Jena Gump's classroom when I have a had a hard day at home with my younger kids, when I want parental advice, when something goes wrong and I need a hug. Sophie still asks to go back to her classroom to explore. She is MY role model as a mother. She has the patience of a Saint, and an answer for everything. She is everything that I want to be when my kids are grown; classy, energetic, kind, observant, determined, dedicated, passionate, loving, and optimistic. The memory forever engrained in my head is our very first parent/teacher conference. You see, I have an older daughter, who is seemingly perfect, quiet, brilliant, and who never steps out of bounds. My Sophie is her complete opposite. She is wild, reckless, aggressive, competitive, and outspoken. The very first sentence that came out of Jena's mouth when I met with her was; "The first thing I want to say is, please do not compare your daughter to her older sister. She is her own little girl, and is just perfect the way she is." I went home and cried because I was leaving my child in the hands of a woman whose number ONE concern was that she wasn't being compared to her sister and was loved for who she was, not who she wasn't. Jena is an irreplaceable part of our community and deserves all of the praise and attention in the world, even though she wouldn't want it. She is the perfect candidate for you to showcase, shaping our world's future leaders day in and day out, and educating the whole child with a firm hand and a smile on her face. I will be forever grateful for her influence on me and on my family.

Sophie Vaughan

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