On Tuesday April 18 nineteen graduating high school seniors from the Arvada Colorado Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered with family and friends to honor teachers who have made a difference in their lives. Each senior had the opportunity to stand with their teacher in front of the audience and share why their time with that teacher was important to them.
Honored teachers included those who taught traditional subjects as well as coaches, music instructors, and church Seminary teachers. Students spoke of how their teachers loved them, taught with passion, and never gave up on them.
Stephanie Bashford was Alex Mauger’s advisement teacher for four years at Arvada West High School. Alex said, “Mrs. Bashford cares about you like one of her kids. She may have to be brutally honest with you, but she will keep giving you chances and still teach you every time you mess up. I know that her kindness and mentorship has not only made me a better student but also a better person.”
Tessa Schaff shared how her ceramics and art teacher at Ralston Valley High School, Heather Billings Munoz, went above and beyond the call of duty during the Covid 19 pandemic, saying, “She didn’t want us to miss out so she dropped off my projects and glaze so I could work on them at home. She also would wheel the carts full of ceramics to the outside doors of the school so students could pick up and drop off. She goes above and beyond to make sure her students have a good experience.”
Student Nathan Payne said that history class at Drake Middle School with teacher Brian English was always the best part of his day. Nathan said, “I think what made him a phenomenal teacher was his ability to teach with humor. He also had the ability to keep his own opinion out of the class and teach history objectively. He gave us the facts and let us come to our own conclusions.”
The evening’s keynote speaker was Susan Chapla, retiring principal of Van Arsdale Elementary, who said, “It was a lovely evening honoring dedicated teachers and celebrating graduating seniors.” Arvada Stake President Scott Horsley summed up the event, “Teacher Appreciation is a long-standing tradition for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arvada. We absolutely love our teachers and the remarkable influence they have. It is very tender to observe these Seniors express the impact these teachers have on them. We are so grateful for all of the hard work that takes place to make such a special event happen.”