Washington State Senator Brad Hawkins of the 12th Legislative District singled out two Wenatchee School District teachers and a Wenatchee High School graduate in his letter recognizing Teacher Appreciation Week. Sue Berry was his teacher at Washington Elementary, and Gayle Northcutt was his freshman English teacher. The senator also talked about Bill Motsenbocker, a Wenatchee High School graduate who is now superintendent of Cascade School District. Thank you, Senator Hawkins, for remebering these great Wenatchee teachers and graduate during Teacher Appreciation week. Here's the senator's letter:
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Good teachers do more than teach – they create, cultivate, and inspire. Teachers can be powerful and dynamic forces in motivating children to succeed in school, which leads to success in life. There are few professions these days that provide opportunities to change lives. Our teachers share this duty and honor. The State of Washington values them and invests over half of our $45 billion operating budget in K-12 education. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week across America, which provides us an opportunity to reflect on our teachers’ hard work -- work that has become increasingly difficult given the demands of our global economy and our societal challenges.
For me personally, attending schools here in North Central Washington for my entire K-12 education was truly a blessing. I learned from many fantastic teachers throughout my years in the Wenatchee School District, and I am truly grateful for the inspiration, instruction, and guidance that they provided. Here are a few stories about teachers who influenced me at every school along the way in elementary, middle, and high school:
• Sue Berry was my second-grade teacher at Washington Elementary. She noticed that I loved to participate in class, but she couldn’t understand much of what I said. At parent-teacher conference time, she had both the courage and compassion to discuss with my family a problem that they didn’t hear – my speech impediments. Soon they started listening for them. Later that week at the old Snyder’s Bakery in Wenatchee, my mother overheard me enthusiastically tell the owner that “We really like a lotta bwead.” The owner looked down at me, smiled widely, and replied, “You’re so cute. How do you like your water bed?” My parents realized Mrs. Berry was right! I later spent months in intensive speech therapy, both in the district and with a private therapist. Mrs. Berry was a fantastic teacher in so many amazing ways, but nothing could have helped me more than her noticing this need early in my life and caring enough about me to tell my parents.
• Bill Motsenbocker, now the Superintendent of Cascade School District in Leavenworth, was my seventh-grade teacher at Orchard Middle School. “Mots” always found a way to involve the entire class in every lesson. He was also the track coach and we often ran together. Track practice at Orchard Middle School was a highlight of my day. The encouragement and coaching from Mots led me to high school cross country and track. I then ran in college, competed at the national championships, and later qualified for and finished the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996. I enjoyed years of fond running memories thereafter. My distance running mentality and work ethic apply to other aspects of life. I offer a special thanks to all coaches and advisors because extracurricular activities, similar to classroom teaching, can make immeasurable differences for children.
• Gayle Northcutt was my freshman English teacher at Wenatchee High School. Simply put, she is a special person and one to whom I will be forever grateful. Ms. Northcutt had a masterful command of her subject area and an incredible way of motivating students. She cared about each one of us – and we all knew it. One day she asked me to hang around after class. When all of the students had left, she calmly explained to me that I lacked English skills, primarily writing skills. I was stunned. If Ms. Northcutt had not been so genuinely kind and compassionate about it, I probably would have been angry. I knew right then that she wanted to help me. She even offered to spend extra time with me individually. It took weeks and even months, but I learned to write well. She patiently taught me word-by-word, sentence-by-sentence, and page-by-page. Thanks to Ms. Northcutt, I refuse to be intimidated by any writing assignment or task…even to this day.
As your State Senator, my job often involves speaking at events, enduring marathon days at the Capitol, or writing policy positions and published pieces. I think of amazing teachers like Mrs. Berry who helped me speak clearly, Mr. Motsenbocker who trained me to endure, and Ms. Northcutt who taught me to write.
These are just three of the incredible teachers who helped shape my life throughout my school years. We have many amazing teachers across North Central Washington making a difference each day for our students. These teachers are supported by dedicated school district staff and school board members. Please take the time to thank them. They deserve our support.
Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your state senator. If you have any questions or comments, please contact my office anytime using the information below.
It is an honor to represent you.
State Senator Brad Hawkins 12th Legislative District
107 Newhouse Building - P.O. Box 40412 | Olympia, WA 98504-0412 (360) 786-7622 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000