Teachers who made a difference


In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, a few Centralia College faculty and staff members have graciously shared stories about the teachers who made a significant impact in their lives. The following tributes show how much difference a teacher can make. Thank you to all teachers who have made lasting impressions on the lives of students. You are greatly appreciated!

“When I was a third grader at Tacoma’s Narrows View Elementary in 1971 we had a teacher named Mrs. Fandek, and everybody was afraid of her. She’d give us in-class writing assignments, and walk around the classroom watching us as we wrote. If your handwriting and/or grammar wasn’t perfect, she’d slam a heavy wooden yardstick on your desk, barely missing your fingers (or sometimes not). It was unpleasant at the time, but being able to write well has allowed me to make a living at a job I love. Thank you, Mrs. Fandek!”

Jeff McQuarrie, Communications Professor

“Dr. Mark Davis was my undergraduate advisor at Macalester College.  He assigned a presentation in each of the four classes I had with him, as well as “made” me present my undergraduate research at a symposium.  I was uncomfortable in front of a crowd, but each time it got slightly less nerve-wracking, much like taking medicine.  Now I spout off in front of dozens of people several times a day without a problem.  Thanks to Dr. Mark!”

Dr. Lisa CarlsonBiology Professor

“Dean Shinn, teacher at Hampton High School in Virginia, had a huge impact on my life. Not only did he care enough to show me I mattered to the world, but his actions have also shaped the way I teach students today.

As I was bounced around from school system to school system as a foster kid, Mr. Shinn was my chorus teacher for less than a year, but the things that happened in my life in that year could have easily broken me.

But he didn’t let that happen. He recognized my feelings of worthlessness and encouraged me with love and understanding. By simply acknowledging my existence and demonstrating his care and concern for me as a person despite my messed up life, he showed me that I mattered and gave me reason to keep going against what then seemed like insurmountable odds. He made me feel worthwhile, important, and necessary to the world.

Mr. Shinn celebrated his retirement this month, and judging from the auditorium packed with former students feeling just as loved and acknowledged as me and the many, many Facebook posts from those of us who were unable to attend, I can see that his special gift as a teacher has touched the lives of so very many.”

— Melissa Williams, Adjunct/E-learning Support


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