Rock Canyon Senior Mackenzie Guest with her favorite teacher, Mr. Darren Withey. Guest and her teacher participated in “Teacher Appreciation Night,” an annual event at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Castle Rock. (Photo courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
by Lisa Crockett
Teaching school can be a thankless job, and that is perhaps especially true when students are looking to the next step in their lives, leaving high school behind. A group of Castle Pines North (CPN) seniors, however, made a point of pausing a moment to tell their teachers how much they appreciate all the work they have done.
The students, along with several of their friends at Rock Canyon and other area high schools, participated in their church’s “Teacher Appreciation Night,” hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Castle Rock Stake (similar to a Catholic diocese.) All graduating seniors who attend the church were invited to select one outstanding teacher as their guest.
The evening featured a special dinner and a keynote speech by Douglas County Schools Superintendent Jim Christensen. A personal tribute was read about every teacher and each teacher was presented with a commemorative plaque as a memento of the evening.
“Teachers, I know you are modest, it is the culture of our work, but tonight your student has identified you as giving them moments of greatness in the class room. In turn they want tonight to be a moment of greatness for you,” said Christensen in his address to the teachers, students and parents gathered at the event.
Students’ thoughts on their teachers ranged from detailed memories of good times to simple expressions of gratitude.
“Mr. Page makes learning activities fun and knows how to get his information across,” said CPN senior Lanie Vescio, of her favorite social studies teacher at Rock Canyon High School.
Students from Castle Rock, Lone Tree, and Castle Pines North honored their favorite teachers. The following teachers were honored by students from CPN; all of them teach at Rock Canyon High:
Mr. Chris Page, Social Studies, honored by Lanie Vescio;
Ms. Joan Cloud, Math, honored by Annie Walker
Mr. Darren Withey, Social Studies, honored by Mackenzie Guest;
Mr. Brent Handy, Social Studies, honored by Kathryn Wolthius.
“What can I say to Mr. Withey other than ‘Thank you,’” said senior Mackenzie Guest. “He is one of the nicest teachers I know.”