Since 2017, Charter School Capital has held an annual essay contest celebrating exceptional teachers. We call it the Dewey Awards, in celebration of Mr. Richard Dewey – a teacher who provided exceptional mentorship to our founder and CEO Stuart Ellis. Every year, we get a brilliant selection of stories written by students from charter schools all over the nation. This year’s winners are featured here. But each of these stories is worth sharing.

This week we bring you a story written by Patrice Pickett celebrating Ms. Plummer and all the teachers of Queen City STEM School

Hello my name is Patrice Pickett. I am an educator, and have been for 17 years. I am fortunate to have been blessed with many awesome teachers throughout my life. I believe that everyone that comes in your life is there for a blessing or a lesson. There are some that are both!

The blessing and lesson in my life came when I attended public school for the first time. I had been in catholic school from preschool through 2nd grade. I loved my school because I had the same classmates for four years and I knew all the teachers. It was like a bubble of protection. Abruptly the school closed a few weeks before 3rd grade was to begin. My parents reluctantly sent me to my assigned public school, Clear Creek Elementary. I was a ball of nervous, anxious energy. In my mind public school was the end of the world. I did not know what to expect. What if I didn’t make friends? What if I didn’t wear the right clothes or shoes? What if I didn’t like my teacher? Or even worse, what if my teacher didn’t like me? My 8 year old brain was full of questions and outrageous concerns.

However, from the 1st day of school to the last day of school I was proven wrong. Ms Plummer welcomed me with open arms and an even bigger open heart. We had a combination class of 2nd and 3rd grade students. We also had a wonderful teacher assistant named Ms. Smith. They worked together like a well oiled machine. They taught us not only the academics, but also how to be a family. We learned about honesty, integrity, compassion, and empathy.

This is the year I began my lifelong love of books from Ms. Plummer. She made every book come to life. We read chapter book after chapter book. We would all hang on to every word. I loved Ms Plummer and we all knew she loved us dearly. Kids don’t always remember what you said or did, but they remember how you made them feel!

We all did our best in that class, not just to please her, but for ourselves. I admired the way she encouraged us and gave us self-motivation and drive. She had a story or anecdote for every situation. Every child had a voice in her class. Never before had I felt so empowered and heard(even in my comfortable bubble at my former school).

That year I knew in my heart and soul that I wanted to be a phenomenal teacher just like Ms. Plummer. I left Clear Creek after 3rd Grade and never visited again. Then one day in my Junior year of college, I was assigned to do a field study at a local elementary school. Yes I was elated to be assigned to Clear Creek. Upon entering the school smelled exactly as I remembered…like chocolate milk! In my mind, I did the math, it had been 13 years since I left Clear Creek. I thought it will be nice to visit, but there’s no way Ms Plummer or Ms. Smith will still be working there. I went to the office to sign and find out which teacher I’d be assigned. I had my head down when I heard, “Patrice Agurs is that you”…it was Ms Smith! She was the secretary in the front office! I couldn’t believe she still worked there! We had a great reunion! She said what until Ms. Plummer sees you! I was speechless, I couldn’t believe they were both still working at Clear Creek! As soon as Ms Smith took me to Ms Plummer’s class she recognized me and the reunion started all over again! I was of course able to be assigned to her class for the rest of the semester.

For the next eight weeks, she took me under her wings and taught me all her tricks of the trade. She taught me how to motivate, guide, instruct and discipline with love. I learned so much in those 8 weeks.

Today, I am an amazing teacher just like Ms Plummer! I hope to inspire my students at least an inkling of the way Ms. Plummer inspired me!!

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Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!

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