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Blackhawk Staff and Students Vote for Teachers of the Year

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On Mar. 22 and Apr. 30, respectively, La Quinta High’s staff and student body announced the teachers of the year. LQHS’ teachers voted for Mrs. Meredith Wheeler, Ms. Jennifer Cortez, Mrs. Christina Endres, and Mr. Lou Benedetto.

Wheeler teaches English III, IB English HL 1, and serves as the instructional coach as well as the dance coach. Cortez teaches English III and Journalism I-IV. Endres is the AVID coordinator and also teaches U.S. History. Benedetto teaches Math III and APEX.   

Of the teachers voted on by the student body, four English teachers won the title across the four grade levels: Mrs. Chesebrough, Mr. Bowman, Ms. Cortez, and Mr. Collins.

For ninth grade, English Teacher Mrs. Rosemarie Chesebrough earned the title. “This year’s freshmen are a truly warm, friendly outstanding bunch of people,” said Ms. Chesebrough. “It is a pleasure every day to work with them.” The runner-ups were Mr. Brian Gleeson, who teaches P.E., and Mr. Tyler Salisbury, who teaches math.

For the tenth grade, English II teacher Mr. Rob Bowman took the title for the second time. “It’s tremendous to have such an honor from students,” said Bowman. “We do this for them and to have them recognize a teacher’s effort is as gratifying as it gets. It means the world to me.” Mr. Joel Kiener, who teaches science, and Benedetto were the runner-ups.

For the eleventh grade, Ms. Cortez took first. “I’m humbled and incredibly grateful for this recognition, as it came from my students,” she said. “I see this accolade as a gentle push of encouragement, nudges of ‘you’re on the right path, keep going.'” Runner-ups were Dr. Bettyrae Easley, English co-department chair, who teaches IB English HL 1, as well as Mr. Justin Klockenteger, who teaches U.S. History and IB History of the Americas HL 1.

At the twelfth grade, Mr. Paul Collins, who teaches English IV, was declared a favorite. “It is always an honor to be recognized by students for the effort that we put in as teachers. I feel especially fortunate to be chosen as there are so many quality teachers at LQHS: all striving to help students prepare for the next step in their lives. I only hope that the impact that we make on our students is long lasting and significant as they move onto be successful in whatever endeavors they undertake,” said Collins. Mr. Jon Adler, who also teaches English IV, as well as Benedetto, were the senior class runner-ups.

While students have their favorite teachers that they think are worthy of winning this title, there are certain teachers on campus that go above and beyond what is required of them. Many teachers go to campus over the weekend to grade, create their lesson plans, and host Saturday Academies. Other teachers also devote their free time after school to prepare students for IB and AP testing.

In a sense, a majority of our teachers are teachers of the year because they exercise and demonstrate their love for learning and teaching. As Dr. Easley puts it, “You have to love teaching, love kids, and [you have to] want to make a difference! Bottom line is to love what you do!”

About the Writer
John Doyle, Editor in Chief

John Doyle is the editor-in-chief for the Hawkview newspaper at La Quinta High School. He is primarily responsible for laying out the newspaper and running...

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La Quinta High School's student-run newspaper