Will M. Nelson

To my teachers, past and present:

“Thank you” doesn’t do you justice. You have given more than I can summarize with words or ever express in any form of gratitude. Nonetheless, I will try.

During my 13 years in the public school system, each of you has made a difference in my life. From the kindergarten teacher who taught me to tie my shoes to the physics teacher who challenged the limits of my critical thinking, each of you made an impact, which cannot be measured by concepts learned, awards bestowed or test scores.

Some of you will light a flame of interest that could inspire a lifelong passion. Others will challenge us with concepts we have difficulty grasping. Those teachers provide us with grit and resiliency through the challenge of their coursework. Those challenges test, sustain and build our character as young people.

Your character is indisputable. You wake up early each morning, prepare lesson plans, respond to the seemingly endless tranche of emails from parents and students, teach multiple hourlong courses, assist struggling students after school, and return home with a stack of papers to grade before bedtime. Many of you are also club advisors, coaches or referees in your schools.

Despite all this stress and pressure, you continue to brighten our days and express interest in our lives. Some of you even take time to console your students. It’s not in your job description, but you care about them and their success. That’s not to mention the school supplies you buy, the school activities you support and the free snacks you provide. You go above and beyond.

Your job is difficult and we don’t appreciate you enough. Now, more than ever, you are put at the center of political fights and curriculum restrictions. Your job has been made more difficult. Please know we appreciate you and we need you more than ever. Each of you makes an impact. Each of you shapes the people your students will later become. Without you, there are no future generations. You make our dreams possible, illuminate our interests, shape our character and guide our development.

Thank you for choosing to be a teacher. Thank you for making an investment in each of us.

Will M. Nelson graduates this month from Jamestown High School. He is the son of Stephanie and William Nelson, members of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative.