I swear that this school was built on some philosopher’s grave. Or, perhaps it was constructed on the final resting place of some esteemed individual from centuries ago. The point is, whatever unfortunate individual is buried below this school, they sure have attracted an obscenely large number of excellent teachers.

When I was told that I need to write an OLu based literary piece, I thought “Oh boy…I can’t wait to passive-aggressively address very specific people in the hopes of them reading this.” Luckily I put my lame, self-righteous nature aside quite swiftly only to have a revelation. I realized that only a few years ago, at my middle school, I would have jumped at the opportunity to tear my school a new one. But with Orange Lutheran, it was a very different sentiment. 

I consider myself lucky to be able to go to school at all, but to go to a school with such a passionate population of staff has been beyond a blessing. Since the first time I shadowed here at Orange Lutheran, I knew that the teachers were really something else. I came home that day and I remembered discussing with my parents how everyone was “scarily kind” and “seemed as if they genuinely cared about individuals…which makes me paranoid.” In coming here, I swiftly grew accustomed to the bona fide concern for not only my education but even more so my well being. 

The teachers here feel like people. I am repeatedly blown away by how moving some of the teachers are. It’s hard for me to even explain, but I believe that moving is the best word to describe them. I don’t just try to learn from them, but I also always try my best to earn their respect. Just observing them and the way they live provides so much insight and wisdom. 

The teachers here at OLu have changed my life in a tremendous way, and I would like to thank the ones who have particularly stood out to me personally. 

(Young) Mr. Young: Theology has never been my favorite subject, but he, like many teachers on this list, leaves the choice to learn up to the student. So when given the choice as to whether I want to pay attention or not, I am more inclined to pick the former. The thing I appreciate most about him is that he is genuine. He shares his real opinion on topics he does, in fact, care about. Mr. Young converses with students as people he has bona fide respect for.

Ms. Hernandez: She is the second-best science teacher I’ve ever had in my 13 years of schooling, only second to the school-wide champion (Original) Mr. Young. She is genuinely funny, too. Humor is subjective, but I find my classmates genuinely and audibly laughing in her class, as opposed to a courtesy “ha.” The way she manages the class is very well organized and I know exactly what to expect every class. She has a perfect mixture of stringency and leniency with her students that it makes for an environment that is both very productive and very amusing. 

Mrs. Hantula: I may as well call her a miracle worker because she helped me really enjoy being in math class. I am supremely bad at math. A lot of people in high school say that, but they aren’t adding on their fingers under the desk and writing out double-digit subtraction still. I received my first B in high school in her class first semester. I realized that not taking an interest in a subject was not an excuse to waste my educational opportunities so, with her help, I kicked it into high gear in the second semester. I studied for over 20 hours for her final and I got a 92 through much hard work and help.

Mrs. Parsons: Mrs. Parsons’s class is by far the most organized curriculum I have ever experienced. Her weekly emails probably fly over the heads of the other students in her classes, but I really appreciate that she takes the time to give our families the scoop on what’s going on in class. She has strong philosophical values that she sticks to and applies to her teaching, which is extremely admirable. The understanding of high school life (and life in general) that Mrs. Parsons has is extensive, and she often applies it to her students. She makes thorough efforts to decrease the stress of her students, and because of her, AP Literature is one of the most enjoyable courses I’ve taken at OLu. 

(Original) Mr. Young: Mr. Young is what every science teacher should strive to be. His Honors Biology class is possibly one of the most valuable courses offered at Orange Lutheran. His method of teaching is near perfect in the way that he has mastered the balance between speed, rigor, and applied learning. Honors Biology is a difficult class, but it is one hundred percent possible to excel. Mr. Young’s teaching actually helps you learn; the concepts stay with you and this class forces you to confront what kind of student you truly are. 

Mrs. Wakeling: Mrs. Wakeling has changed my life, and frankly all the ways she has influenced me were the main inspiration for me writing this piece. She earned my respect nearly instantly and quickly became someone whom I admire and am inspired by. Take Honors Writing; you’ll love it. 

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Written by

Aaron Almeida

Aaron Almeida, junior, has always needed a creative outlet, and since he sucks at art, writing is a great way for him to do that. He enjoys writing poetry and creative pieces, although pieces based on his hobbies also interest him. When Aaron isn’t doing homework, he likes listening to music, skating, biking, and sitting in his room alone. He enjoys partaking in cardio based pain, more commonly known as cross country. Aaron’s favorite book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy.