Students praise special instructors
High school graduates usually can pick one or two teachers who they found to be their favorites.
In recent interviews, several members of the Tonganoxie High School Class of 2003 pointed to math instructor Phil Williams as a popular choice.
"Mr. Williams is the best math teacher I've had," said Laura Samuels, who took calculus with the longtime Tonganoxie instructor.
Jacob Walker, who might pursue an engineering degree at the University of Kansas, said Williams was helpful in a subject that will be important if he ultimately chooses an engineering career.
Vanessa Wardy appreciated Williams' willingness to be available at any time to discuss math problems as well.
She also said biology and multimedia instructor David Walker gave her insight into a field she, too, has looked into.
Wardy is interested in pursuing either business management or mass communications at Baker University in the fall.
"I thought about it a little bit before, but now I'm really interested in it," Wardy said about Walker's multimedia class, which includes student newscasts. "For multimedia, he explains things on the computers well.
"He helps us when we need it, but he lets us do our own things with the news."
Jon Gripka put biology instructor Pat Wakeman at the top of his list.
"I was the most interested in his class," Gripka said. "And he seemed the most interesting to me."
Gripka, who will enroll at the University of Kansas in the fall, also looked at the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver. That would include two years of coursework and then the real world, but Gripka wanted to go the two years of general studies at KU before making a decision on what he wanted to do for a career.
"I'd have to decide what to do with my life," Gripka said.
Jacob Walker also had Andy Gilner on his list of top teachers, while Jessica Pearson gave an interesting reason for appreciating Gilner.
"He never yells at us when we're talking," she said.
Pearson plans to attend Johnson County Community College and work toward radiology courses at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.
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