Students give teachers high marks

Tom Haas, OMMS

Susan Connor, Fruitvale Elementary

Janet Hokanson. Fruitvale Elementary (retired)

Dave Carlo, PHS

Janelle Hart, MGMS

Melissa Belden, PHS

Paul Pitton, PHS

“The difference between the possible and impossible lies in a person’s determination.”
 — Tommy Lasorda

Tom Haas, a physical education teacher at Orchard Mesa Middle School, recently explained that Lasorda’s philosophy is “one that I tend to follow with everything I have on my plate.” Haas and other School District 51 educators recently received thanks from students or former students for helping them achieve what often seems impossible. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week May 2-5, a selection of student letters appears online each weekday through Friday.

# # #

Mr. Haas,

From kindergarten to eighth grade, you have been my favorite teacher, and I wish I still had you!  Having you always drove me to do my best, and you always made me laugh. Some kids never liked you because they thought you yelled too much, but that was one of my favorite things about you.

I learned everything I know about volleyball from you, and I miss playing for you in all sports. You were funny as heck, and I loved the way you were never easy on anyone, especially not kids who wouldn’t try.

You have always been my favorite teacher, and I wish you taught gym at Grand Mesa. I miss you!

Amanda Etcheverry

# # #

Dear Susan Connor and Janet Hokanson,

You helped me when I was in your class five years ago. I remember when Mrs. Hokanson helped me with my math by setting a challenge that helped me learn the skills.

I remember when you took some of us to Burger King for winning the challenge.

I also remember when Mrs. Connor helped me when I had surgery by allowing me to heal. It really helped when I knew that you guys were there for me.

Zachary Gearhart

# # #

Dear Mr. Carlo,

Hey! I’m really happy to have you as a teacher this year.

As you know, this year my life changed a lot and maybe you don’t know these things, but when I was in your class I was always thinking of my dad. You are almost like him. He is a teacher. Many times I was in his class, and he is just like you, playing with his students, joking around, and being an awesome teacher.

To be sincere, history is not my best class. I hate history! But you make it fun, as well as American Government. I don’t like politics or anything compared to government, history and wars, but you make it interesting and different, not boring like other teachers. Thank you for everything and for being like that.

You are an awesome teacher … a person that makes fear in the first impression but in reality is so lovely! I hope you remember me for long, long time.

Sarahi Morales

# # #

Dear Ms. Hart,

I just want to thank you for all the things you did for me in middle school. You have no idea how much I appreciated all the things you helped me with.

When I was struggling with school in 6th grade after my parents’ divorce, you helped me get back on track to where I needed to be. Whenever I needed a schedule change, you changed it for me.

You were the most reliable staff member at the school who really cared for the students, especially me. I’m thankful I got to know you and I know you will continue to treat students like you treated me.

Zane Abeyta
# # #

Dear Mrs. Belden,

Thank you so much for helping me the past two years of high school with math. You have helped me in so many ways, and I have been greatly influenced by you. You helped me get through some of the toughest math, and I couldn’t have done it without you.

One of the ways you have helped was you met me at Starbucks on a Saturday morning to help me with math and you live all the way in Collbran. There have been many other times where you took time out of your life again just to help me. I really appreciate all the times you met me after school and spent hours helping me to succeed in different math classes.

I really liked the way you made me think and didn’t give me the answer but helped me learn strategies and different techniques to figure out a difficult math problem. Now I can use those strategies in getting through other math classes in the future.

This last math class, pre-calculus, I wouldn’t have been able to get through without your support and help. Thank you so much for getting me through some of the hardest classes I’ve taken throughout high school. I greatly appreciate all the hours of your time, teaching me and supporting me. I also want to thank you for showing me that I can get through these classes. Without you I don’t know what I would have done.

You are a great teacher that really cares about seeing and helping your students succeed in the ways you know they can, and supporting them and showing them that you think they can do it. Thank you!

Samantha Blair

# # #

Dear Mr. Pitton,

Remember all those times you encouraged me to keep working hard? I doubt you do. You did it without trying. When I got lazy, you’re the one who told me, “Stop being lazy.” When I wanted to quit, you said, “Come on, one more, you got it.”

When I did what I was supposed to, you said “Good Job.” It was simple enough to keep me going. When I realized you did all this for me, I wanted to say, “Thank You, Mr. Pitton” for being the encouraging weightlifting teacher.

Brice Hawley

Paul Pitton says his inspiration for teaching comes from what Coach Joe Rammuno used to tell his PHS football team when Pitton’s sons were on it:

“The brotherhood that you have created among one another is something special that will last forever. Remember to do what is right, treat others the way that you want to be treated and always do your best; practice for perfection and never, never, never give up. Be relentless and care for your fellow man.”


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