Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Photo of School Bus by Takahiro Nagao

Mountain View Conference Educators Share How Teachers Touched Their Lives

Story by Valerie Morikone

I had so many great teachers as a student in Adventist schools that it’s hard to pick just one favorite: from my father, a greatly loved college professor and major influence in my life, to a host of other godly, caring teachers through the years.

One teacher I loved at the Ella E. Hughes Elementary School (now Keene Adventist Elementary School in Texas) was Mr. John Hiser. I remember learning a lot and laughing a lot. He got his classroom management requirements across with kindness and good humor.

Mr. Hiser cared for us outside of school too. His second job was working the counter at a little store nearby. He would dip me a gigantic 25 cent-sized cone for five cents. Thatkindness, more than any other, sticks in my memory about Mr. Hiser. He made me feel special in a way that gave me a sense of belonging and importance. I just hope I can do the same for the students who come to my classroom looking for acceptance and belonging.—Cheryl Jacko, principal at Highland Adventist School in Elkins, W.Va., and MVC’s Education director

Elementary and middle school years can be rough for kids. But when you have a great teacher who genuinely cares for you, and also provides a lot of fun in the classroom, it changes your life. From endless papers all over her desk and science equipment all over the room to tripping over that one open desk drawer in class to get to a student inneed, Cheryl Jacko knew how to make even the most seemingly boring classes come to life. It might be her, as well as my mother who also taught some of my elementary years, who inspired me to pursue a teaching career. And today I’m blessed to work alongside both of these hard-working, hilarious and amazing women, teaching kids!—Stacy Blanzy, grades 5–8 and high school history teacher at Highland Adventist School

When teaching, I think about past teachers, what they did, the learning adventures I had, and I want to duplicate it for my students. The most influential teacher of my life, and my current favorite, didn’t come around until I was attending Adventist University of Health Sciences (Fla.) a few years ago.

Dr. Jason Hines was my Human Anatomy and Physiology lab professor and began each lab session with 15 to 30 minutes of unrushed worship time. Some grumbled, but for me it made all the difference. He showed us in Scripture, in science and in mathematics that God is an orderly Designer. In the lab, he told us how the human body has a fine-tuned balance that was designed with such purpose and intrigue that we can never fully comprehend.

That semester became one of exploration. It was a privilege to see how awesome and wonderful our Loving Creator is. I gained a new perspective on how to learn and experience life. More than just experiences or adventures, it has been my goal to help students find this perspective and use it in their lives.—Ashley Briggman, former teacher at Boulevard Adventist Academy in Charleston, W.Va.; currently homeschooling her two sons

The teacher I admired the most was my academy English teacher, Brent Yingling. He also taught French. In fact, I took it for two years just to be in his class.

This man was not only a compassionate and inspiring teacher; he was thoroughly 

dedicated to his profession in or out of the classroom. You knew he cared by the way he took personal time and energy to develop a relationship with his students. We spent much time working on our school’s first newspaper. I was the editor; he was the sponsor. He always encouraged me to keep writing.

He often told me I should consider becoming a teacher. I would disagree with him. Butyears later, when the time came to enroll my son in my alma mater, it was he who answered the phone.

I told him, “Guess what? I’m an English teacher. You weren’t wasting all your time, after all.” 

I could just feel his delight and pride after we exchanged the usual “who would have believed it” comments. But most of the pride was on my side because I knew if I ever wanted to emulate anyone, it was him.—Bobbi Blanzy, grades 1–4 and high school English teacher at Highland Adventist School

Add new comment