I vividly remember the day I was sitting on my couch and my mom walked up to hand me a card. It was April of my sophomore year, during the covid shutdown, and I was a week out from major hip surgery. Naturally, I was expecting a letter from a family member, but to my surprise, it was from Mr. Reichle. He wrote me a letter, wishing me a speedy recovery and expressing his interest in my life outside the classroom. After a hard week of pain and restlessness, that was exactly what I needed.
I had Mr. Reichle for one semester of western civ at Arrowhead High School, and that semester was when we were forced to do virtual learning. Even though my time with him was short, I knew he cared about me as a student and as a person. After every class and every zoom call, he would always ask how I was doing, and I would sit in his zoom call and talk to him well into my next class period. We talked about everything from history to pets to sports. At a time when I couldn’t see my friends, Mr. Reichle was there to comfort me. He didn’t just treat me like a student, he treated me as a friend, and it’s a feeling I will never forget.
I’m not saying that my other teachers didn’t care about me, but Mr. Reichle was the only one who reached out to make sure I was ok, and I will never forget the effort he made (the card he sent still sits on my desk). I was going through a very hard time in my life. It felt like the whole world was against me, and the comfort that Mr. Reichle provided was enough to make a big impact on my life.
The energy that Mr. Reichle brings to class every day is simply unmatched. Some people find European history boring, but Mr. Reichle made western civ a class I looked forward to. Even when we were forced to go virtual, he still taught with the same passion and enthusiasm. It’s safe to say that Mr. Reichle loves history, and his passion for the subject made his class extremely enjoyable and something that I was excited to learn.
To this day, I walk past him in the hallways and I’m always greeted with a “hello” and a smile. Even after just a semester of being in his class, virtual learning and all, he still remembers me. I think that is extremely impressive given how many students he’s had over his many years of teaching, and it just goes to show that extra bit of effort that Mr. Reichle makes to connect with his students and try to make learning something that’s easy-going and fun.
With that, I want to say thank you, Mr. Reichle. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will never forget the letter you sent me after my surgery, your effort did not go unnoticed. Thank you for being a teacher that’s passionate and energetic. Thank you for being a good person, and for treating every student as more than just a student. I will never forget the impact you had on me.
On the first day of school of my senior year, I walked into the AP European History classroom expecting a typical history class: probably mundane and forgettable. However, as soon as Mr. Reichle began to welcome us all, I knew my assumption was wrong. His energy was infectious; his enthusiasm filled the room every time he spoke. I couldn’t help but get excited about humanism during the Renaissance or Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses.
As the weeks passed, the class grew better and better. One day, Mr. Reichle casually strolled into class, donning a large red cape, a powdered wig, and an officer's cap from the cold war. The occasion? Absolutism! His quirky outfit portraying leaders from different eras set the tone for the unit perfectly. His educational antics continued throughout the year— he’d play The Man by Taylor Swift when talking about women’s inequality in the 1600s, or recreate Russian political cartoons about Peter the Great’s westernization of Russia by having us cut fake beards.
Some of my most vivid memories from the class are from our hands-on experiences. Once, he had us re-enact a meeting from the scientific revolution; each student took on the role of a different thinker or scientist. I was Galileo, and discussed heliocentrism and politics of the time with Copernicus, Kepler, and Brahe. I now have a clear memory of Galileo’s trial, meeting spaces in the late 1500s, and the conflict between science and the Catholic church.
As Christmas drew nearer, Mr. Reichle shared one of his favorite books with us: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. We watched clips of the movie, read sections of the book, discussed its perspective on the industrial revolution in the 1800s, and the conditions of workers during that time.
His lectures are always interwoven with hilarious personal stories. I remember the Italian Renaissance with vivid images of him running to see the Pope passing by on the street, or the wide roads paved for World War II’s military parades, where he was almost run over trying to take a photo for the class. His anecdotes bring the curriculum to life and fill the students with a love and passion for history.
Mr. Reichle’s passion for learning was not limited to the classroom, however. Oftentimes, he makes short, humorous videos for us related to the current unit while he’s at home, quoting A Christmas Carol or recreating a Romantic painting of the French Revolution.
Never before had I felt so engaged in a class; as a person who learns better by doing and discussing (rather than listening alone) I finally felt I was in a class with a teaching style that matched my learning style. Our large-group discussions and debates are always memorable and exciting, and encourage me to look at things from a new perspective.
Thanks to his creativity, positivity, and energetic love for learning, Mr. Reichle helped rekindle my love for history and academics. No matter how dreary the day or detailed the topic, he always managed to engage me, make me smile, and teach me something new.
To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.