We remember our teachers by the footprints they leave
As the seniors draw near to the end of our high school careers, we look back on everything that has been important to us over the last four years: friends, sports, school activities and our teachers.
One special benefit of attending a small school is the opportunity for students to develop mentoring relationships with teachers and receive encouragement and inspiration from them. One of the many teachers who left an impact on his students at Faith Christian High School was Mr. Keepers.
Mr. Keepers was the main junior high and high school science teacher for five years. He taught everything from eighth grade earth science to honors chemistry and was known as one of the nicest teachers on campus. His classes were fun, and he was never reluctant to stop in the hallway to give encouragement or go beyond class time to help students who were having difficulties.
When labs did not produce the right results, he taught us that it's all right if everything does not work perfectly the first time but to learn from our errors and try again. He worked hard to help us first discover and then reach toward our dreams.
In my freshman year, Mr. Keepers became a great influence in my life. That year, he was my cross country coach as well as my science teacher.
He was both kind and understanding, but he also made me set goals for myself and work my hardest to achieve them, to persevere and concentrate on improvement instead of comparing myself to others.
He also taught our running team to recognize our weaknesses and turn them into strengths. This lesson was brought home as we learned to face the inevitable hills. By the end of the year, we could use hills to our advantage and gain time by running up them while everyone else walked. Soon we realized that the exhilarating downhill sprint was worth the few seconds of intense energy required to run up the slopes.
The lessons he taught in both cross country and science were not only sports- and science-related, as he showed us by his daily example. Life gives us a choice: Will we to let our errors and life's hills slow us down, or will we persevere and overcome?
We all watched Mr. Keepers deal with some difficult personal challenges. He took each one in stride and refused to give up, no matter how trying his situation. He was determined to support his family and continue in his faith and passion for science with the attitude that it would all work out in the long run.
When he moved to another state last year, we were sorry to see him go. We all miss him very dearly, but he left a legacy by his encouragement and example to the students who had the opportunity to know him.
Katherine McLain is a senior at Faith Christian High School. Her column appears about every sixth week in Education.