Student Nomination Story

Sandy Lemmink has done amazing work with my son this year and deserves recognition. In September, Noah relapsed with cancer in his lungs after being in remission for nine months after his first battle with Wilms Tumor. He missed half the school year last year and will miss more than half of this year. We were devastated by the news and weren't thinking as much about school as we should have. Noah had surgery within a week of diagnosis and started treatment while still in the hospital. Mrs. Lemmink reached out asking how Noah was doing. She also let us know she had been approved to do home instruction with Noah a couple days each week. We never considered asking her to do this since she has children of her own in school and activities after school. She has made Noah a priority so he won't fall behind this year. Mrs. Lemmink doesn't just do home instruction with Noah. She comes to the hospital when Noah has treatment that requires overnight stays. The hospital is at least a half hour drive into the urban core of town. This is time she could be spending with her own family. Mrs. Lemmink also made it a priority to keep Noah as part of the class while he is out. His numbers are low and he has a compromised immune system and hasn't been back to school since the day he had surgery. To keep him part of the class, she suggested finding a way to use a webcam to keep him a part of the class. I looked around and couldn't find a cost effective solution. Mrs. Lemmink succeeded in finding a solution. She worked with the school district to implement a plan. They installed a camera in her classroom and Noah is able to login and participate when he feels up to it. He is able to raise his hand and ask questions. She is able to project her smart board to his screen so he can see what is shown to the class. It works better than I ever thought it would. Noah desperately wants to be a part of something. The webcam is a wonderful tool to make him feel like he is part of the class. She made this happen despite the fact that the school was moved this year while the regular school is being renovated. Being in an unfamiliar location always makes new things more challenging. Noah looks forward to seeing Mrs. Lemmink when she comes for home instruction. On days when she doesn't come he still asks if he gets to see her. On days when his numbers are too low for visitors, you can see the disappointment on his face. She has made a positive impact on his life. He is engaged when he gets on the webcam to learn with the rest of the class. We make Noah do a lot of things he hates while in treatment. Having a trusted and passionate teacher like Mrs. Lemmink makes our lives easier because he hates doing school work with us. It is wonderful seeing him look forward to doing school work. Last year while in treatment, Noah did the home instruction with another teacher and did well. There is something different about having his actual teacher coming and working with him. She knows where he is in comparison to the rest of the class. Our family is grateful for Mrs. Lemmink and the dedication she has for her students. Noah is obviously special to our family. Mrs. Lemmink doesn't treat him like he is just another student. I believe she treats all of her students like they are special to her. We have been blessed with wonderful teachers for our kids and it is tough to single one out. Mrs. Lemmink has gone above and beyond what a reasonable expectation for a teacher should be. Noah's fight is just over halfway through. He is doing well and is the strongest kid I know. I didn't want to wait until the end of year to nominate Mrs. Lemmink. My hope is she wins and Noah can be in class with her.

Noah Mattingly

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