The main goal for most high school teachers is helping their students graduate. One teacher at Monterey High School is continuing to make an impact on one student, six years after she graduated. NewsChannel 11's Suleika Acosta has this week's Teacher You Can Count On.
"I'd usually sit at the back of the class and hide myself so I won't get called on," says Brandy Schmidt. Six years ago, she sat in this classroom at Monterey High School. One day during her sophomore year, her English teacher, Amy Burnett, noticed she wasn't reading her assigned book. "I pretended that I was sitting there reading it, turning the pages like everybody else. She walked by me and said, you're not reading that book are you, and I said no I'm not," recalls Brandy.
Brandy has Dyslexia and a language disorder. Feeling embarrassed about her learning disability, she kept it a secret. "It would take me about an hour just to get me through two pages," explains Brandy. But Mrs. Burnett wasn't going to let her fall through the cracks, she made it her mission to give Brandy the extra help she needed. "There were some places where she had trouble learning and I just always tried to help her, give her confidence, let her know she could do it.
Mrs. Burnett tutored Brandy during lunch, after school and even offered support. "I tried to drop out of high school twice and I went to her and she told me that I needed to keep on trying harder and she would help me in any way she could. "She just needed someone to let her know that they cared for her and keep on pushing when the struggles got to be a little too much," says Mrs. Burnett.
With all that support Brandy graduated from Monterey. Today, she is a Texas Tech student working toward degrees in sociology and criminology. She still visits Mrs. Burnett for help on papers and to catch up. One day Brandy plans to be a high school teacher as well and everyday, she remembers Mrs. Burnett's words of encouragement.
"She told me that if I would try my hardest then I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grow up," says Brandy.
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