Thank you teachers!


Natalie Wilcox and Anna Krupka

The 2020-2021 school year has been challenging to say the least. Everyone has faced isolation, feared for the safety of loved ones, and experienced anxious feelings about the future. On top of all that, students have had to keep up with their classes. On the night of graduation for the Class of 2021, two lines of teachers marched into the gym. They would literally be leading the students to graduation, as they have done figuratively for the past four years. As they entered, the Class of 2021 applauded, which soon turned into a standing ovation. With everything the students had gone through, they knew their teachers were right there with them.


Along with the graduated Seniors, the whole student body WOHS recognizes the great impact teachers have had on them during this year full of obstacles. Below are some students expressing gratitude for their amazing teachers:


Jr. Sarah Moraw said, “I have had the pleasure of having Mr. McNitt as my AP Psychology teacher. Overall Mr. McNitt has a kind heart. He takes the time to get to know his students and their interests. One of the things I appreciate most about him is his passion for psychology. He also is very talented at connecting certain topics with entertaining stories or mnemonics that help us recall information later. He has taught me new strategies that have helped me in many different aspects of life including school and sports. I will remember what he has taught me forever, but most importantly he taught me how to learn effectively which will continue to benefit me. I am thankful for the experience of having him as a teacher.”


Jr. Oliver Brunner said, “Mr. Hubbard is laid back which makes the class more enjoyable.”


Jr. Mia Tarnow said, “Wally has impacted me in multiple different ways. She always desires for us to succeed and has been a constant encouragement to me and everyone in the class. She’s always there to help me or to just talk and joke around. If you have a question she will have an answer or is always willing to help. She never fails to bring some joy and sunshine to the day!”


Jr. Isaiah Nguyen said, “Mrs. Meyer is great at noticing when someone is struggling with a specific part in a lesson and finds a way to help them subtly without pointing them out.”


Jr. Connor Dinkelman said, “Sra. Holmes has helped me so much this year. Whether it be walking around the building to take a break on a stressful day, or helping out in the classroom with difficult verb tenses in Spanish, she has continued to push me as a student, and support me as a person. I cannot thank her enough for another great year in learning Spanish, and for pushing me to continue into AP next year! Thank you!”


Jr. Kenya Garza said, “Mrs. Farney was kind of thrown into IB at the last minute and has been great.”


Jr. Savannah Reed said, “Mr. Myers genuinely makes school an enjoyable environment and makes me excited for class every day! He is very laid back and easy to talk to when I need help understanding something. Myers just always puts a smile on my face especially when he jokes around with me and my friends and answers our dumb random questions. He is a teacher I will never forget even though some of his stories I wish I could forget, but sadly I won’t. You are the best Bob and I will continue to ask you every time I see you, “Myers what are you doing here?!” 


Jr. Micah Watkin said, “Mrs. Van Dam is my EE advisor and has helped me navigate through IB.”


Soph. Kamryn Dumas said, “Ms. Stier consistently advocates for her students and encourages discussions that are crucial for becoming educated young adults.”


Jr. Sydney Willard said, “Mr. Strobel has been very understanding and patient with me this year. He has helped me realize that I’m not as bad of a writer as I thought. He never gives up and always has a positive attitude. He’s kind, funny, and by far one of my favorite teachers I’ve had the opportunity to learn from.”


Jr. Kaitlyn Meyer said, “Mr. Klingeman is one of the most understanding teachers I have ever met. He allows all of his students equal opportunities to be understood and valued. He has always shown me respect and has treated me like an adult, which I appreciate more than what words can describe. He also helps me a lot with college and the future choices that I have to make. I shared my interests with him about my college choices, possible majors, and countless scholarship opportunities. He’s offered me financial advice, advice about becoming a teacher, and so much more. I will never forget his willingness to make his student’s lives easier.”


Jr. Erin Beetham said, “Mr. Kukla has been really helpful and lets students go with the flow, but provides help when he sees fit.”


Jr. Kelly Linart said, “Mrs. VanHouten helped me this year by being so supportive in math. She is always willing to work through and reteach material that I do not get on the first go around. As a teacher she is extremely kind and uplifting, always giving me a good laugh each class period. I look forward to sitting in her class on A days and could not have asked for a better teacher this year!”


Jr. Lilly Gibson said, “Mrs. Bentley is an amazing role model and I loved having her this semester. She is very understanding and I know that if I need support, she is someone who will be there for me.”


Soph. Jackson Field said, “Mr. Norton has taught a lot of good life lessons.”


Soph. Zara Flores said, “I believe I have grown as a person in Mrs. Houghton’s class. I learned how to manage my time very well with homework and study time. She would keep track of all of us and email me whenever I needed help or made sure I came to class even virtually. I truly think Mrs. Houghton helped me so much in my math area, including getting me to enjoy math and taking Pre-Calc next year!”


Soph. Montha Nget said, “Ms. Plewes and Mrs. Spreitzer impacted my life by teaching me how to cook; they make sure I have my work turned in. They always ask if we’re doing all right.” Soph. Kaydence Hill said, “They help me feel like I belong at West Ottawa.” 


Jr. Andrew Gonzalez said, “Mrs. McKellar helped by being by my side and helping me through the hard days and keeping me motivated.”


Jr. Elliot Cayabyab said, “Mr. Taylor was one of the few teachers that I felt comfortable verbally telling him my preferred name. And the best thing is that he asked about my pronouns afterword, he was the only teacher that did that this year. He respected who I was the whole year and understood when I told him to not call me by my preferred name to my parents. He made me comfortable to be myself and made me come out of my shell–both as a student and as a person. Because of him, I’m so much more sarcastic, confident, and loud. With Taylor this year, I don’t know if I would have continued the IB courses with as much spirit that I do at any point. He also became one of the teachers that I trust the most in the school.” 


Frosh. Anna Anderson said, “Mr. Drnek is super chill and gives me opportunities to succeed.”


Soph. Carter Parent said, “Mr. McCourt was a helpful teacher all throughout the year. He made a presentation to show us what jobs would be good for our future showing us that college is not the only way. Showing that he cares about everyone’s future. suggesting career paths for kids that don’t know what they want to do yet.”


Frosh. Nick Krupka said, “Mr. Knoll always believed in me and always helped me when I didn’t understand the study syncs or tests.”


Soph. Hana Hescott said, “Mrs. Weyhmiller is warm, accessible, enthusiastic, and so caring. She is a teacher that students know they can go to with any problems, concerns, or even share a funny story. Not only is she an amazing teacher, Mrs. Weyhmiller cares about each one of us so much and she always brightens my day. She really created a sense of community and belonging in the classroom. The mutual respect in her classroom really provides a supportive, collaborative environment. She pushes everyone in her class to be the greatest they can be. She has her own love of learning which is so important and it is inspiring to see her passion for education. Mrs. Weyhmiller has helped me and so many others during this very difficult year and she is someone I am never going to forget!


Jr. Nathan Saelee said, “Mr. Townsend helps me with my relationships and I trust him.”


Ariela Ferraro-Guillermo said, “Mrs. Walworth is super supportive when you’re going through a hard time. She takes time out of her life to come into school and help you out if you’re struggling with anything in class, whether it is on a weekend or after school. If you’re going through something personally, she offers a listening ear and makes sure you’re okay.”


Frosh. Eli Armstrong said, “Mr. deForest taught me how to look at things in a different way.”


Jr. Ella Spooner said, “I had Mrs. McCrumb for AP world this year which is a really hard class. Mrs. Mccrumb recognized the type of person I was and how I push myself too much sometimes. She helped me be successful in AP World by encouraging me to not overdo it and wear myself down. It’s because of her connecting with me on a personal level and helping me overcome my type-A personality that I got an A in the class. Thanks, Mrs. McCrumb and thank you for finding ways to make AP world fun!”


Frosh. Ainsley Gibbs and Danielle Kyes said, “Mr. Dennis makes science class easy to understand and fun. We got to build rockets and shoot them across the lab which was awesome.”


Soph. Makynna Crook said, “Mr. Hamilton is really chill and his classroom is always relaxing and not stressful. He’s always willing to help if you need it.


Soph. Izabella Colunga said, “Mrs. Patterson has helped me improve my math skills and grade over the past two years.”


Jr. Lauren Adamski said, “Mrs. Willcock is always there for her students. She works really hard to make sure that her class is interesting and exciting. She also is very good at understanding how we are feeling and will adapt her lesson to meet us where we are on that day. I will never forget how we did the trench warfare simulation and had a ‘war’ in the LGI.” 


Frosh. Keegan Angel said, “Mr. Plank motivates me to work out and get stronger.”


Jr. Anna VanderWege said, Mr. Heavilin has an awesome teaching style that uses humor to help us remember content which made the class enjoyable and easier.”


Jr. Elliot Cayabyab said, “Despite everything that’s happened this year, Mr. Jaeger has taught me so much. Apart from TOK, which was my favorite class for two months, he always taught and talked with vigor and honesty. He helped solidify my personal beliefs and becoming more independent from teachers. Giving me vague and nondescriptive assignment details, he got me to figure out how and what I should do myself. He also encouraged me to be skeptical of authority around me, especially teachers, that I should research what my class and how assignments should be. He also became one of the few teachers to give me harsh honesty. He became one of the teachers that I trusted the absolute most.”


Jr. Kaia Denhof said, “Mr. Dewitt tells jokes and makes the class fun instead of super serious. AP Chemistry is a difficult class but he helped me be successful.”


Soph. Khloe Anderson said, “Mrs. Cheney is always nice to everyone and smiling. She is understanding and friendly and is always willing and ready to help. During online school, she would go out of her way to do extra calls and help with assignments. She does everything she can to help students be successful.”


Soph. Riley Sodini said, “Mr. Klassen always keeps things entertaining while still getting things done and his teaching style helped me be successful.” 


Jr. Jaysen Hoezee said, “Mr. Hamann is really dedicated to his students and uses his own time to help us. He is very passionate about what he does.”


Jr. Kate Roudebush said, “I had Mr. Bauer as a teacher during my freshman year; since then, he’s always been someone I can go to for a laugh or an uplifting pep-talk. Between classes or in the halls, Mr. Bauer is always a friendly face who’s constantly looking out for his current and past students. I appreciate his great sense of humor, caring personality, and positive attitude at school. All of his support has helped me get through these past three years of high school, and I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done.”


The students at WOHS are so grateful for all that their teachers do. They provide countless opportunities for success and will go to any measure to help students meet their goals. We couldn’t have done this year without them. While not every teacher was mentioned above, all are appreciated and deserve to be thanked.