Sometimes we feel the most empowered at the least expected times and places. For example, during school. We all have or had that one teacher who we got along with so well and could go to about pretty much anything. For me, it was both my fourth grade teacher and my seventh/eighth grade English teacher who made me realize this. Both of them have been extremely helpful to me and my success in school so far.

Back at the Whitefield School, my fourth grade teacher was new and mine was her first class. She was super nervous about being a teacher and how the students would end up treating her. Of course, we were super nice to her, so she soon became a motherly-type figure to us. Some of my classmates would even call her mom sometimes. If we had a problem, we would all go to this one teacher and ask her for help. She was trustworthy, caring, and understanding. All the qualities we look for in a good leader and mentor. Whenever I get the chance or a break from academics and athletics, I go to visit her. In fact, my friend and I were invited to her wedding! Which we were very excited for. I felt extremely honored to be one of the few invited students at the wedding.

Another one of my teachers—someone who was also at the Whitefield School—who made me feel empowered and was a mentor was my seventh and eighth grade English teacher. It was not her first year at the school when I got there, so going into her classroom was very different than that of my fourth grade teacher. She knew exactly what to do and how to do it, which made for a very comfortable learning environment. This teacher was also my homeroom advisor in seventh grade, so I got to spend even more time with her. We would bond over a snack that we called “birdseed,” as well as our love for the world of literature and books. I often went to her for help or just to talk about anything. As a mentor, she helped me realize that you have to enjoy something in order to be good at it. I enjoyed learning, so I was pretty good at it, and therefore got good grades. This teacher, being one of my mentors during the time, really helped me out a lot and still does.

Both of these teachers possess qualities such as being caring, helpful, and willing. These are qualities that can help make others feel empowered, or like they have a mentor. I still remember most things that they both had done for me in the time I was in their classes, because I learned so much. And I know that I will always have one of them to talk to if I have a problem or just need a conversation with an adult. We all need someone like this to empower the youth of Coös County.

—White Mountains Regional High School