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Mr. Jokela was my history teacher. He saw the world differently than anyone I had ever met before. His classes were difficult, but you could tell that he truly cared about the success of his students. I appreciated that he gave us the freedom to ask questions, engage in debates, and expand our knowledge base. Those skills served me well in college, and to this day, I thoroughly enjoy asking questions and participating in open debates.


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I had an 8th grade PE coach named Perry Fouty. I wasn’t exactly the greatest athlete, but he told me to stick with it. I can still remember his voice encouraging me to try harder. I played basketball, football, and baseball with him. I actually played four years of high school football after that. Even now in life applications I’ll think about Coach Fouty, and that lesson of “try harder” is never far from me.


The teacher that stands out to me as going above and beyond was Mr. Filippi. I was in the hospital with a blood clot that had developed immobility due to a cast on my leg, and he would come to the hospital every day to tell me what they did in class and bring me my assignments so I wouldn’t fall behind. My parents and I couldn’t believe that a teacher could be that concerned with a student. So, I guess, the impact wasn’t necessarily academic, it was more of a life lesson, taking that extra step and going the extra mile for people.


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