Student Nomination Story

Mr. Porter has a reputation for giving a tremendous amount of work, and being strict with grading systems. Walking into his class at the beginning of my sophomore year made me extremely nervous for the year ahead of me. Being a student at an early college high school, I was required to take AP US History, without the option of regular classes. It took me awhile to adjust to the workload. Yes, there were a lot of assignments, however, as the year progressed, I realized they were not as difficult as us dramatic teenagers perceived them to be. Mr. Porter would encourage us to work in groups outside of class, and divide the work amongst ourselves into smaller portions. I have always been a fiercely independent person, so this encouragement allowed me to develop and grow as a team player. Learning that sometimes there are things I cannot handle alone has transferred into all other areas of my life. As president of a club, I've learned to better trust my other officers. As a daughter, I've learned to contribute better to the household chores. Most of all, as a student, I've learned to trust, yet not depend on my classmates. Mr. Porter's biggest strength was his understanding of his students. He would explain to us that we aren't as bad as other adults view our generation. Mr. Porter told us how he always got frustrated with his parents when they complained about us, because they did not spend everyday in a classroom with the teenagers they claimed were horrendous. He took the time to listen to us. Before each class period, he would talk to us, about anything, from movies to our weekends. With these conversations came many great snippets of advice, such as "always wear sunscreen," and "vote." Personally, Mr. Porter is the reason for my political interests that have I fostered into a possible career. He always emphasizes the importance of young people voting (while never sharing his own political beliefs). He holds a strong conviction that it is of critical importance to vote. If you never voice what you want, then you will never receive it. I took this heart, and began researching politics. I strongly dislike making decisions without being informed, so I began to inform myself. Now, I have a fascination with the way our government functions, all because Mr. Porter encouraged his students to be active citizens. I never believed I would be willing to create a career out of something so controversial, yet now I aspire to. Furthermore, Mr. Porter sponsors the best academic clubs our campus has to offer. I used to think things like academic decathalon (acadec) and speech were too nerdy, yet now I am attempting to be on my school's acadec team. Mr. Porter played a major role in this, by describing it as fun and just a good way to spend a day. Now, I completely agree with him. Through this club, I have improved so much in my studying habits, and public speaking skills. He also understands that students initially join academic clubs for "another feather in [their] cap on applications." Each time I write a speech, I ask Mr. Porter to review it for me, and it fills me with joy when he describes it as "solid." It may be simple, but it is one highly appreciated word. His praise is universally appreciated on our campus, and any other student would attest to this. Mr. Porter is a simple man, who is never seen without a big gulp. He is encouraging, compassionate, and genuinely optimistic for the futures of his students. It was an honor to be in the classroom of "The Great Kenneth Porter" my sophomore year of high school.

Alyssa Martinez

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