Carol Whitehaus was nominated by an anonymous student.
"In my life, very few people have legitimately altered the course of my life. Mrs. Whitehaus is one of those people who helped shape me into the person I am today. She is a spectacularly effective educator, an incredible mentor, and a caring friend. Mrs. Whitehaus teaches the challenging AP English Language and Composition course at Arrowhead High School, and I was blessed to be in her class last year," said the student.
"Mrs. Whitehaus is in the business of helping people reach their potential as writers and as human beings. She helped me along my path to meeting my potential in both of these areas throughout my junior year. She proved I could overcome any obstacle with relentless positivity and grit. I faced many trials in the middle of the second semester, from school to athletics to mental health. I fought battles daily as I scratched and clawed my way to an A in one of my classes. I had just suffered a severe knee injury, putting me out of my junior track season and senior football season. I was studying rigorously daily to improve my ACT score to make me a competitive college applicant. All of this took a toll on me, and I felt helpless, weak, and alone. I tried my hardest to bear my burden for a while, but during one of our in-class discussions about mental health stigmas, Mrs. Whitehaus inspired me to help myself by getting support from others," said the student.
"Soon after, I sat down with her after school, and we talked for over an hour as she helped me navigate my challenges. Hearing her perspective completely flipped my mental framework regarding dealing with difficult emotions. I walked out of school that day invigorated by faith and confidence. Similar discussions followed throughout the next few months, and I steadily gained ground on my personal trials. Her imploring and respecting my thoughts as I showed vulnerability made me feel truly respected, valued, and supported. It's a unique talent, and I'm grateful that she was willing to take the time to share it with me. With her help, I ended the year in about the best shape that could have been expected of me. She helped me once more by writing a jaw-dropping letter of recommendation, which undoubtedly contributed to my successful college applications," said the student.
"My life-changing experience last year may not have ended so well without the support of Mrs. Whitehaus. She helped me by assisting me through a difficult time and inspiring me to be more like her. Since then, I've made it a personal responsibility to encourage others around me, inspire positivity, and hopefully be able to help someone, someday, the way she has helped me," said the student.