Beth Wartzenluft was nominated by an anonymous student.
"It was my first day at North Shore Middle School as a sixth grader. I think you could imagine a little nervous 6th grader walking into the doors of a new chapter. I wasn't just nervous; I was anxious, to begin with. As a middle schooler, I suffered from major anxiety," said the student.
"It was time for comm arts class. I wasn't sure what to expect from this class; I only wanted to enjoy middle school and be excited to go to school every day. I walked down the hallway, and the class was on the right. I turned into the room and had to stand there for a minute to process the room I was in. It was dim, and there were cozy bookshelves, twinkle lights, rolly chairs, bouncy chairs, a nice couch, and, most importantly, essential oil diffusers. I instantly felt calm when I walked in, and my anxiety was relieved," said the student.
"'Call me Beth,' the teacher said with a comforting smile. Beth was someone I knew instantly would make an impact on my life. She took part in wanting to know about my life outside of school. She taught students and cared for them," said the student.
"On reading days, she would put a calm fire on the projector screen. At the end of stressful days, she would play our favorite music to dance to and sing just to let go of whatever stress may come upon us. I still have the video playing in my head of her dancing and singing to the music video 'Boyfriend' by Justin Bieber. She just made me feel so comfortable I knew that school doesn't only need to be stressful," said the student.
"I could always go to Beth for anything, whether it was a life problem or simply help on my English assignment. Beth would never make someone not feel smart when she helped with our work and especially essays. She would always show how proud she was of you, and even if you felt down, Beth would tell her own life experiences," said the student.
"I remember once I broke the school Kindle by accident, and I was so embarrassed and anxious by it, and she simply said, 'At least you are alive and well.' I still say that to myself sometimes. I then knew how much I worry about the past and how Beth taught me English and a life lesson on how if we dwell on the past, it doesn't need to impact our future," said the student.
"My favorite days were 10-minute meditation before starting lessons with Beth. She knew that even middle schoolers could be stressed and overwhelmed, so she played calming music and let us take time for ourselves," said the student. "Beth, you impacted me more than you could know, and you will forever be in my heart because you were the memories that are special to me."