“Thank you to the Nebo Education Foundation for the grant. The new reading materials for our students here at MJHS have been a huge asset to the students so far, and I can only imagine how impactful they will be in the future. With these, students have discovered new strengths and interests while they are completely engaged with learning. On behalf of the students and teachers at MJHS, Thank you!!” exclaimed Nicollette Anderson, teacher at Mapleton Junior.
The Nebo Education Foundation is composed of 20 volunteer board members who live in cities serviced by Nebo School District. Board members meet each month to review and award grant requests, consider fund-raising avenues and other items that advance the educational opportunities for Nebo School District students. Many of the donations received are for selected projects, yet a substantial amount is available for the greatest need. Greatest need monies are considered for grants submitted by area schools.
Stephanie Swensen teaches because she loves kids and she loves teaching, in that order. Stephanie majored in Statistics at BYU and then went on to have a career in industry. She was very good at her job. She managed people. That was great preparation for teaching.
After a number of years, she left her work and began her teaching career as a substitute teacher. One of the hardest jobs ever. She found out that she has a real talent for teaching and she liked it. She decided that she wanted to do it full-time.
She spent countless hours studying and taking classes in order to be a certified teacher. She has blessed hundreds of lives since then. She blesses the students she teaches and the people she works with.
Stephanie truly cares about her students. Stephanie sets high standards for her students and expects them to follow through. She wants them to understand the material and have confidence using it. She is always willing to help her students when they have questions. She pushes them to be better than they thought they could be. She celebrates with them when the have success. She encourages and buoys them up when there are challenges.
She is concerned about their lives in school and outside of school. You will always find food in Stephanie’s closet, not for herself but for a hungry student. Stephanie keeps her stash in her desk. She likes a snack every now and then and a daily dose of Dr. Pepper.
Stephanie is great to work with. She is a born leader. She is very smart, works hard and helps others. Stephanie is supportive of her co-workers. She is willing to help wherever and whenever there is a need. She lifts her co-workers to a higher level. She candidly shares her opinions and ideas and respectfully listens to the ideas of others. She is a problem solver. She tackles challenges head on and has the courage and ability to move forward. Stephanie is a great example of what a caring, competent teacher does. It’s who she is.
Stephanie is a math nerd, that is meant as a compliment. She gets excited about math and shares her enthusiasm with her students and her co-workers. She has a math T-shirt for every occasion and pi earrings to compliment her outfits.
There have been studies done that say we become more like the three people we spend the most time with. How grateful we are that we have spent time with Stephanie. We are all better because of our association and friendship with Stephanie. We know that as she leaves us to teach at Cottonwood High School, her circle of influence gets larger. How grateful we are to be in that circle. More teachers and students will be blessed because of her.
Thank you, Stephanie, for all you have done. We love you and we will miss you.
Deanne Helquist is my pick for Spirit of the Mustang. In the two years that I have been here I have seen that Deanne arrives at school early each day to prepare for school and to work with students who need extra practice. From the conversations that I have had with her, I can tell that she cares deeply about her students; not just when they are in her class, but even after they are graduated and married.
She seems to always have a positive attitude even when confronted with tough situations. She recently told me about an experience with a parent that was very difficult for her. She has had several opportunities to associate with this parent since then and was able to be positive because it was the right thing to do.
Deanne is an amazing teacher that is able to take students with little to no knowledge of music, and teach them to read what I consider a foreign language called “sheet music” and play an instrument in time with other students. A task that is not easy. Her orchestra students are involved in multiple concerts and competitions throughout the school year, and have ranked well at these concerts. Not only does she teach the music to help prepare for the concerts but has to coordinate the transportation of all the instruments including setup and takedown.
Deanne teaches part time here at the junior high and part time at Maple Mountain High School. I don’t know how she is able to keep track of what she is doing at both schools, and keep up with grading, organizing concerts, and other performances. I know from experience when I first started teaching that managing two different school schedules, when there are assemblies, meeting and parent teacher conferences, is no easy task. For these reasons and many others I believe that Deanne Helquist is a great example of the “Spirit of the Mustang.”