Student Nomination Story

In 9th grade, I was assigned to Ms. Nicholson's 7th period World History/Geography Honors class. When I first met her, I thought that she was interesting. The year I was in her class was the first year she started working at Whitney High School yet she seemed to have everything under control. Unlike other history teachers I've had before, Ms. Nicholson was creative and incorporated simulations and projects into her curriculum. Even now, she's always improving her curriculum by implementing new simulations (i.e. she had students participate in a totalitarianism simulation where students had to follow a certain set of rules on campus). Ms. Nicholson's curriculum left quite an impact on myself as a student, but she made a greater impact on me as a person. Prior to 9th grade, I continued talking to Ms. Nicholson and I still do even to this day. Starting in 9th grade, I began to participate in Korean History competitions individually and Ms. Nicholson was always there to support me. Every time I had a competition, I would talk to Ms. Nicholson about my concerns. I would tell Ms. Nicholson my concern of how I'm worried that I would fail miserably at the competition or my anxiety would affect my performance. Somehow, I would walk into her classroom nervous, but whenever she gave me her advice, I would feel confident that I would be fine. Last year, for the first time, I decided to enter a Korean Speaking Competition where I was required to write and recite a speech about someone I admire. Of course, I wrote about Ms. Nicholson and the day before the competition, I talked to her about how worried I was and complained to her how every little detail that bothered me. Once I was done complaining, Ms. Nicholson, like she always does, gave me advice that would actually help me. She told me that taking deep-breaths help, that I should picture the audience as a humorous figure, and that I "got" this because I do. That last advice impacted me the most since she told me with full confidence that I would do well and the next day, I actually did well enough to receive first place. Even this year, I had a Korean Vocabulary Quiz Competition and I was nervous about it a month before since I would be participating as an individual and in a team. I explained to her how I would be in charge of the high school level and I managed to get my brother and a friend to fill in the spots, but that didn't help the fact that I would end up doing most of the work. She asked me why I asked my brother and I told her that it's because he's the second best Korean student I know. She asked me who was the first and I told her with confidence that it was myself. She smiled and said, "I really hoped that you would say that." Although I can't even remember what I did last week, most of my talks with her are still in my memory. Personally, I tend to be very insecure about my flaws and sometimes, I tend to doubt my ability regarding my strengths. Although this is how I usually feel, Ms. Nicholson tends to have magic in her words. Whenever she gives me advice or tells me that it's going to be okay, I believe her. I actually believe her. I will forever be grateful to Ms. Nicholson for the relationship I was able to establish with her. I am grateful as to how she can always take the time to listen to my concerns and give me the advice I need. Lastly, I am grateful that she says the kindest words like "I know you got this because you do" and "I was really hoping that you would say that [you are the best in Korean]." Due to the connection I've established with Ms. Nicholson, I'm sometimes excited to go to school and tell her about what humorous event took place during the weekends or what event I'm looking forward to. Before I met Ms. Nicholson, I had lower self-esteem and no confidence in my ability no matter how skilled I was. Now, I believe that I can become what I want to be and do what I want to do. Sometimes, I imagine what would have happened if I never met Ms. Nicholson as my teacher. No matter how I think about it, I can say with confidence that I'm glad I met Ms. Nicholson and that she positively impacted my life. Therefore, I believe that Ms. Nicholson should be Honored as the great educator and person that she is.

Holly Cho

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