In my life, teachers have shown a fair amount of respect for me, but there is one teacher that’s had a lot more respect for me than the rest. He was my teacher in 7th and 8th grade. One time, I was feeling pretty discouraged about myself because we were having a discussion about how, if someone’s parents weren’t very good people, they would probably end up just like them. My mom was a heavy drinker at the time, and I didn’t want to end up like her. I talked to him about it, and he told me that just because my mom was like that doesn’t mean I would be. It’s just statistics, and that only I can decide what kind of person I want to be.

We need more people like this in Coös County. The kind of teachers who, instead of focusing only on schoolwork and grades, show that they care about the students. The sort of teachers who, if there’s something going on or a student’s upset, will talk to the student about it. The sort who won’t scold students for having a hard time.

Most of the teachers at the WMRHS are the same way: they focus on the students’ wellbeing more than their grades. A lot of teachers notice when there is something wrong with the students, and if their grades start to drop, they talk to them about it. In other schools, they would most likely just let them fail without saying a word. But here, at our school, grades come second, and the students come first.

If we can get other teachers to be like this—even just in our state—it could change the lives of so many people. Kids could go from being on the way to failure to having a good income, with a family who loves and supports them. Even the smallest act of kindness can go miles in someone else’s life. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” is the truest quote you’ll probably ever hear.

—White Mountains Regional High School