Michele Hill was nominated by her student, Josué Manjarrez.
Mrs. Hill has been at Delsea for close to 17 years. During those years, she has influenced many students who walk through her door.
Mrs. Hill is Delsea Regional High School's number one fan when it comes to having school spirit. She demonstrates that as much as she can, and gets students to participate in order to develop a family type atmosphere around school. She understands the importance of having good grades, but also understands the importance of sports and athletics. If her students are involved in after-school activities, Mrs. Hill makes it a point to watch them and support them. This shows that she cares about their success, not only in the classroom, but on the field.
Students appreciate her efforts and have close connections with her as a teacher. At school, she is a favorite among all. She is the "cool" teacher, but she also believes in being firm, fair and consistent. She holds students accountable for their own actions, but at the same time, develops a connection with them to understand them as a person. As a result, she can tailor her teaching to specific students. She is such a great educator because her dedication and commitment to her student success is incomparable. She consistently goes above and beyond her day-to-day tasks to develop a connection with her students that will last a lifetime.
"What really stands out to me, and makes me believe she is deserving of this award, is what she does outside of the classroom for her students," Manjarrez said. "I moved to the US when I was nine years old. Grade school and middle school were rough years for me because none of the teachers really knew how it felt to be an outsider from my perspective. It wasn't until high school orientation when I first met Mrs. Hill. She could tell from a mile away, I was nervous and scared. She was the first one to approach me and made me feel comfortable right away. My parents never went to high school or college, so this was new to my whole family. As my high school years went on, Mrs. Hill and I developed a mentor-mentee relationship. She understood my background right away and knew the struggles I would face being from a different country and adapting to the American culture."
Manjarrez struggled getting acclimated to high school and getting involved. Mrs. Hill was always the one to push him to try new things and get involved in different clubs around school. If he needed a ride to an activity, Mrs. Hill would offer to stay late to take him home, or pick him up when needed. She knew Manjarrez's potential and never stopped believing in him. Towards the end of high school, they had developed a relationship like no other, and it only continued to grow.
"For my high school proms, both Junior and Senior Year, she offered to give me a ride because my parents had to work," Manjarrez said. "I knew that this was a teacher who really went above and beyond. College came around and she continued to mentor me throughout the whole process. She was there to cheer me up when I got a bad grade, but would encourage me to try harder. Like high school, I struggled with college, and being a first generation college student, my parents could only understand me so much. Mrs. Hill had been there every step of the way, always keeping tabs on me and pushing me to do my best."
It wasn’t an easy ride, but Manjarrez eventually graduated from Drexel University with a Biomedical Engineering Degree.
"I have my parents to thank for part of the success, but I also owe my success to Mrs. Hill, who was there for me every step of the way since ninth grade," Manjarrez said. "This is a great example of her commitment to her student’s success, and her involved outside of the classroom. I am not the only story like this; year in and year out, she helps many students like me believe in themselves, even after high school."
Mrs. Hill's school spirit, dedication to her school, and her students is what makes her such an outstanding educator. Her morals, and ethical standards are something that she tries to instill in all of her students, and as a result, her students ultimately leave high school as better people.
"Her dedication to her students outside of the classroom is what makes her the best candidate for this award," Manjarrez said. "The amount of lives she has single handedly changed is something that every student will cherish forever, especially me. I can’t think of any other teacher worthy of this award who has changed many lives, and continues to have a close connection with them years after high school."