Student Nomination Story

The far back corner is where I sat everyday during first semester of 10th grade geometry. Ever since 5th grade, I thought mathematics would be somewhere where I struggled. While being passed back test after test; D+, F, D-, F, F, D, that thought dug deeper into my mind. The football player next to me berated me whenever he’d see the letter at the top of my paper. “How could anyone be that stupid?” “You’re an idiot.” I was nervous for my second semester as a dark figure named “Failure” tapped me on the shoulder. As I walked into my second semester of geometry class, I accepted my fate. However, to my surprise, I’d been assigned the desk adjacent to Mrs. Kraus. I had her during my first semester and assumed she saw me just as I saw myself: hopeless. At first, I was embarrassed. I almost failed her class last semester and now she’d see me fail my second semester. However, Mrs. Kraus was persistent and patient. A small woman with a strong demeanor, whenever I had a question, she helped me understand, no matter how many times she had to repeat herself. When she saw me struggling, she’d reassure me and explain. I’d felt like a burden, but she didn’t make me feel that way. She believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. Knowing someone cared enough to put so much of their time and effort into me helped me realize I could exceed my own expectations. “Good job Katie.” Her sincere voice spoke as I saw a smile on her face. She passed back my quiz with a circled A on the top along with a smiley face. My heart raced, my body in complete shock. This my test!? I must’ve gotten lucky this time. No way. Throughout the semester, my suspicion turned into confidence as I was handed back test after test. A, A-, A, B+, B, A+. I couldn’t believe the drastic improvement along with my excitement about math (the subject I had dreaded for years). I worked hard and I studied for hours every night. Mrs. Kraus made me excited to learn because her classroom felt like a home, a place where I could express myself and be encouraged. She helped me realize I was capable of academic success as well as achieving my future aspirations. Ever since, I’ve never been the same student or person. I watched myself turn from an average student to exceptional one—a magical feeling. She helped me develop my passion for learning and taught me to never give up on what I want to achieve. She rescued me from what seemed to be a spiraling downfall of negativity and guided me upwards towards my dreams. Whenever I am in my lowest moments of self-doubt, I remind myself of her. I never go a day without thinking about Mrs. Kraus, one of the most dedicated teachers at Arrowhead High School, who completely changed my life.

Katherine Zimmerman

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