Nick Bakaysa's teacher: Kimbra Shaner
My most influential teacher throughout high school has been my AP Gov teacher, Ms. Shaner. Not only did she teach me about my passion for government and politics, but she showed me how to look and think about issues in a more nuanced way. Her jovial demeanor and incredibly fun activities made her period my favorite part of the day. The way she taught the course made me feel like the concepts she was teaching would be applicable in real life for all students, not just those going further in that field. Finally, it is evident that she cares about the academic and personal success of her students. She always took the time out of her schedule to interact with her students in meaningful ways and the memories that I have of her class are some of my fondest at ZCHS.
Tyler Benson's teacher: David Schurger
David Schurger’s educational title will tell you that he teaches the Orchestras ~and other assorted music ensembles~ of Zionsville Community High School. Yet my 4 years under his mentorship have taught me more than mere orchestration. I’ve learned how to, with lectures varying in intent and potency, stretch my calves correctly, manage my time (rather realize how little of it I ultimately have), hold myself with healthy and correct posture, bulk up / workout, perform with confidence and success... grow hair… oh yeah and play in and lead my orchestral section. He is influential to me because of the care that he shows to each individual student beyond their musical scene. One second he’ll shout at the class to get them organized and ready to play and the next second he’ll be discussing the intriguing philosophical questions of life. He cares for us not just as musical persons with which he can fabricate an ensemble, but inspiringly as the people we truly are. Thanks, Schurgs.
Henry Bobeck's teacher: Doug Showley
Mr. Showley was my AP Lit and Comp teacher. To many students in the country, I would imagine that label is a negative one - a title that brings only memories of stress and boredom caused by a year of recycled instruction and a curriculum based entirely on test prep. Such is the nature of most AP classes. To Mr. Showley, however, the class was not about grades. It was about allowing his students to walk out as better people, and he used literature as a tool in achieving that goal. In his class, I learned the value of empathy: the idea that there are infinite perspectives one can have on the world, and the highest form of intelligence is the ability to recognize and see the world from more than just your own. And so I would ask that you not see Mr. Showley as an "AP Lit and Comp teacher," but rather a mentor, a person who devotes his own time to helping his students succeed and grow individually. Thanks Mr. Showley, for going the extra mile.
Ryan Bowers' teacher: Lindsay Alessandrini
Throughout my time at ZCHS, Mrs. Alessandrini has made a great impact in both my academic career and personal life. I admire her integrity, kindness, positivity, acceptance, humor, zest for life, confidence, and genuine enjoyment of what she does every day. She stands apart as both a teacher and an individual because she views teaching, not as a job, but as a way to positively influence the lives of her students. Every day, Mrs. Alessandrini begins class by talking to her students, asking how we are doing and wanting to know what is going on in our lives. She jokes about her Diet Coke obsession and cat memes but at the same time is intentional about connecting with us and making sure we know she will support us in all aspects of life. By doing this, Mrs. Alessandrini has taught me the importance of being there for other people and how one can use simple, everyday actions to be a light in the lives of others. Additionally, Mrs. Alessandrini has challenged me to pursue my love for the Spanish language and culture. For the past three years, she has led engaging Spanish classes, patiently answered all my questions, encouraged and supported me through the IU Honors program, and provided an ample amount of opportunities to practice Spanish outside of the classroom, all of which I am forever grateful. Mrs. Alessandrini truly invests time in her students and wants them to succeed in their academic and personal endeavors. It has been an honor getting to work with such an incredible educator and individual.
Connor Bryan's teacher: Matt Mulholland
Throughout my entire educational experience, Mr. Mulholland is the teacher that has had the greatest impact on me. He clearly loves his job and has a passion for physics that is evident throughout all of his lessons and which he also tries to instill in his students. Despite the difficulty of the subject, Mr. Mulholland always inspires his students to do their best and pushes them to apply what they have learned in real-life scenarios. Topics that might have been overly complex are made understandable and interesting thanks to his lectures and demonstrations. I doubt I would have studied physics at all without Mr. Mulholland, and it’s thanks to his class that I now know I want to continue to study physics in college.
Charles Chiang's teacher: Dwight Moser
For the past four years, both in class and out of it, Mr. Moser has been more than simply a teacher. He has been an invaluable mentor throughout my high school career. From my involvement with math competition club and Mu-Alpha-Theta, Mr. Moser has always been there for me.
I remember sitting in Mr. Moser’s Algebra II Honors class freshman year, keeping my head down and doing my work. He asked if I was bored, and if he could do anything to make class more interesting for me. I remember talking to him for a couple minutes after the lesson ended, helping me plan out what classes I would be more interested in taking the following years.
From then on, Mr. Moser’s room was always a place I could go to hang out, have fun, and talk. Whether for AP Statistics or as a teacher aide in study hall, the bright and vivacious Room 205 will always be there whether I need a laugh or some help. Thanks.
Bobby Corridan's teacher: Sarah Essick
My most influential teacher, by far, is Mrs. Essick because it seems like I’ve been with her forever. My first class with her was Pre Calc Honors as a very small freshman, and there were definitely some times when I was afraid. Whether it was being yelled at for not doing our homework, being on our ‘dumb phones,’ or that one time our whole Calc class cheated on an AP Friday, I definitely got to see Mrs. Essick’s scary side. But that doesn’t really capture who she really is. Over the past two years, I’ve gotten to know her so well because while I haven’t been her student, I’ve spent so much time in her classroom. From asking for help on tough problems, to planning AMT 2, or just talking about life, Mrs. Essick’s classroom has been like a second home to me.
Through all four years I’ve known her, I’ve been able to see, as I am sure all of you have, that she’s such a wonderful and caring person. She gives us a hard time, so that we push ourselves to do our best. And because of that, she’s the best teacher I’ve ever had. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from her.
Kathleen Donoho's teacher: Cheri Mikesell
Mrs. Mikesell has been an influential teacher for me during two different periods of my life, first in elementary school and now as my mentor in Cadet Teaching. She is the one who first taught me to love math and history, and when I organize the library in her classroom now, I find books that I remember reading over and over again when I was in fourth grade. Cadet has been one of my absolute favorite parts of this year and I have learned so much. Mrs. Mikesell has taught me that there is so much more to being a teacher than we as students realize. She puts in so much time and effort and love into teaching these kids and to think that she did all of that for me and my classmates too, just leaves me speechless. Even from the relatively short amount of time I’ve spent with Mrs. Mikesell’s class this year, I already know the hardest part about being a teacher is going to be saying goodbye. I really don’t know how you do it. And if someday I can make as big of an impact on my students as Mrs. Mikesell has made on me, that’s how I’ll know I’ve succeeded.
Olivia Duncan's teacher: Steve Cripe
I’ve had a lot of great teachers, but for me, picking the most influential was a no brainer. AP Chem was rewarding, yet challenging, and I never would have made it through without Cripe’s encouraging sarcasm. But under all his sarcasm and funny remarks, Cripe is just a great teacher. He’s the kind of teacher that commands attention through respect instead of fear. He’s the kind of teacher who makes you feel comfortable asking for help, but is also willing to let you learn to manage yourself. He’s the kind of teacher who cares more about helping his students than making himself look good, the kind of teacher who gives up his Sunday to hold an AP review session. He’s the kind of person that I admire for his (sometimes brutal) honesty and ability to acknowledge the pressures of real life in order to overcome them. Cripe, thank you for inspiring me to continue pursuing science, and if I end up hating a career in Chemistry, I’m probably going to blame you.
Maxine Fang's teacher: Brenda Jalaie
I chose Mrs. Jalaie as my most influential teacher because she has always been kind, encouraging, and dedicated to her students. From my time with her in Drawing I and II, it is clear that she truly cares about the growth of her students and goes that extra mile to make sure they reach their full artistic potential. Personally, Mrs. Jalaie has been monumental in supporting me throughout my high school career in everything from nurturing my artistic growth to helping me pursue my passion for business. Every day in art, she motivated me to push the bounds of creativity and enabled me to produce my best work. Thank you, Mrs. Jalaie, for your insightful art advice, your optimistic personality, your quirky spirit, and for being a fantastic teacher, mentor, and friend.
Alysa Han's teacher: Dave Rodgers
Considering I chose my APUSH teacher, you may find it surprising that I used to absolutely despise history. However, this mindset--and honestly, my worldview as a whole--changed with Mr. Rodgers: the type of teacher that everyone hopes to be blessed with. Not only does he possess a seemingly bottomless pit of knowledge, he is also able to communicate a sort of excitement about learning--a contagious sort. In addition, I was able to gain so much more than just surface level content, because much more importantly than the grade and AP score in the classroom, he helped to impart to me the real-world importance of history and the connections between the past that cannot be changed, the present that affects all of us, and the future that we have yet to create. ZCHS will miss you.
Eric Herbst's teacher: Bob Brennan
Dealing with second semester seniors, let alone teaching them, is a difficult and oftentimes futile task. I can easily say that Mr. Brennan was one of the best at engaging our class and bringing excitement into the classroom. He was always able to come up with creative games and activities that brought out the competitive side in every student, while also teaching important economic concepts. Even when a game may not have been suitable, Mr. Brennan found a way to make lectures interesting, never failing to incorporate humor and clever examples (mostly about a failing pizza business). Finally, and most importantly, Mr. Brennan took the time to get to know me as a person and ask about my personal endeavors. I am very grateful for his constant encouragement, kindness, and enthusiasm.
Andrew Kremp's teacher: Danielle Wilson
Dear Mrs. Wilson, I just want to say a massive thank you for putting up with me and all of my quirks over these past two years. From the beginning of US History last year, to the end of APEX this year, you have been fundamental in my growth from a shy high school kid to a young adult ready to make the world his own. In US History, you always listened to what I had to say, no matter how ridiculous it sounded, but you were never afraid to put me back on the right track when my low attention span took over, and I’m grateful for that. I now know how to express my perspective while still being respectful to those around me. In APEX, you’ve allowed the authentic me to come out, the me that is passionate, ambitious, and just the right amount of crazy. You provided me with an opportunity 99% of my class couldn’t experience in high school; I’ve been enabled to take a class where the focus is up to me. With your leadership, I have laid the foundation for a company that has the potential to help millions of kids across the globe. You let me try and fail, and then fail many more times, but eventually find patterns that work and ideas that stick. Some days I make breakthroughs, some days I just need to spend the period rambling about food, or old TV shows, or which face tattoo looks the best. Whatever’s happened, the good or the bad, you’ve been right by my side to coach me through it. You’ve given me a glimpse into my dreams, and without you I’m not sure I’d have the belief to go through with them. I’m forever indebted for your cooperation with me, and I’m humbled to have had a teacher as genuine as you. Overall, all I want to say, is “Thank You”.
Joey Kurek's teacher: Mary Hightshue
“Exchange is not a year in your life; it is a life in a year!”
These words, which now mean more to me than most people could ever imagine, were first introduced to me by Madame Hightshue. She was always a strong advocate for study abroad programs, and even while I was still a little middle schooler, she convinced me to go to a presentation on international opportunities. Her encouragement ultimately resulted in my getting on a plane three years later to spend a year in Germany, a year that would forever alter the way I view and live my life.
Making sure students understand material, while sometimes difficult, is something that anyone can learn to do with enough practice. What makes a good teacher, however, is someone who is able to instill a passion for learning and life in general in their students. I had always loved languages for their own sake, but Mme. Hightshue taught me how to use them to open up the door to and explore new cultures. The French movies, foods, and songs that she made a part of her class gave me a love for traveling and new experiences that will last forever and has already changed my life in so many ways. For this, I am beyond grateful.
Jack Miller's teacher: Andra Edgell
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a student of Mrs. Edgell. In my experience, Mrs. Edgell is among the top educators at Zionsville High School. As a student in her AMT class, she has presented her material, anything from game theory to graph theory to encryption to calculus to math history, in a clear and interesting manner, but it doesn’t stop there. Rather than just talking at her class like she is delivering a monologue, Mrs. Edgell encourages her students to engage in dialogue with her because she cares that each student can gain an understanding of the material. One thing I have really appreciated about her class is that, more than most other classes, it has been about learning together, even in some cases along with Mrs. Edgell. In addition to this, Mrs. Edgell really cares about her students and their well-being. She is intentional about getting to know her students and making them feel comfortable in her class. I can testify that this creates an extremely friendly classroom environment, something that not only boosts learning in her subject but also curiosity and the enthusiasm to learn.
Will Schrepferman's teacher: Mikayla Koharchik
Most of you know Mrs. Koharchik as our witty, sharp, lovable seventh-grade Language Arts teacher. To me, she was all of that and the witty, sharp, lovable Fall Musical Director. I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Koharchik on three ZCHS Fall Musicals- Pippin, Oklahoma!, and Les Miserables. My personal growth throughout my high school career has mirrored my involvement with each successive production. From being a lowly spotlight operator my freshman year, to being put in charge of the entire crew during sophomore year, to managing every aspect of the massive production that was Les Mis during my junior year, Mrs. Koharchik's confidence and belief in me has allowed me to grow as a person, student, and leader. She has made an impact on every student who found a home in the world of the Fall Musical, and I'm forever grateful to be counted among their number.
Redi Von Dielingen's teacher: Jeff Anderson
I first met Mr. Anderson as he was coaching my twin sister’s golf team freshman year. I saw a coach who loved his players and made them feel good no matter the circumstances and brought a jovial attitude to every aspect of coaching. When I was fortunate to have him as my teacher for AP World History, I saw all of those same qualities transfer over to his teaching. Mr. Anderson made lectures engaging for every single student, imparting a witty sense of humor and vibrant personality that made every single student laugh and have fun. While the content of AP World History wasn’t always the most exciting, the way Mr. Anderson presented it made it seem the opposite. Mr. Anderson gave all of his students an ample amount of resources that helped them discover more information about the topics we were learning about in class. While Mr. Anderson demanded a lot of his students, he did it because he knew that we were all capable of it. He treated both his students and players with the same amount of respect, support, and kindness that anybody could have asked. After student aiding for Mr. Anderson for my junior and senior years, he and I are more than just teacher and student, but genuine friends. The above qualities make Mr. Anderson an easy selection for my Most Influential Teacher!
Sophie Zimpfer's teacher: Aaron Coates
Something I love to ponder is how many times teachers like Mr. Coates hear the words “thank you.” Whether it’s a passive and fleeting comment as students rush from his classroom after the bell, or a teary-eyed, heartfelt statement at a show choir banquet, I am certain that these are words he must hear habitually, and it is for this reason that, prior to writing this paragraph, I looked up some synonyms for the words “thank you,” hoping to give him a breath of fresh air. One synonym that resonated with me was this: “you’re too kind.” I could not think of a better group of words to sum up Mr. Coates. “Too kind.” Those are powerful words. Those are the kind of words that describe a man who would lay his own passions aside in order to give students the opportunity to be not only motivated, but delighted about their education and their goals. A man that would sacrifice his own time in order to share some of his genius to impact and astonish everyone around him. A man who has analyzed his students, who approaches them on their bad days and simply offers his presence, and on their good days, keeps them from getting too big of a head. A man who uses compliments sparingly, but makes sure that his students know that they are respected, valued, and, most importantly, loved. Mr. Coates is a man after God’s own heart, and his generosity, dedication, talent, discipline, empathy, humor, and his selflessness are unparalleled by any teacher that I have come across in my academic career. After having the blessing of learning from him for three years, I am genuinely a bit scared to be lacking the stability of his presence next year, but I am so excited for the students in the years to come that will get to know the remarkable teacher that Mr. Coates is and all of the incredible things that he has to share with his students. Mr. Coates, you really are too kind. And I know you hear it a lot, but thank you.
Payne Vogtman's teacher: Ann Bender
High School in Zionsville involves an immense pressure to overachieve in college. Many students, myself included, become focused entirely on promoting their future through rigorous academic focus. And in all honesty, that’s probably not a bad thing; I wouldn’t know - I’m not living that future yet. Within the often unilateral focus on education for the future, Mrs. Bender taught me about my present.
Mrs. Bender taught me that it is still possible to promote a strong future while living a fulfilling present. She convinced me to get involved in opportunities I’ll have now and will never have again. My high school life evolved completely from freshman to senior year, and I owe my change in mindset and my well-roundedness in high school to her instruction.
Ginelle Suico's teacher: Deb Krupowicz
Throughout my time at Zionsville, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had many wonderful teachers, but my elementary school teacher Mrs. Krupowicz still stands out as one of the most impactful. Honestly, it’s pretty difficult to recall specific details about third and fourth grade, but what I do vividly remember is Mrs. Krupowicz’s constant support, charisma, and devotion to her students. I also remember the copious amount of reading we did in those classes; Mrs. Krupowicz managed to fully engage us as she led us through a variety of novels, articles, and more. These experiences in particular inspired me to begin discovering new concepts, developing curiosities, and making connections, all of which still translate into my current scientific and linguistic aspirations. While this certainly enhanced my perspective, academic endeavors aside, Mrs. Krupowicz truly did teach me how to be a good a person. Although I was a quiet kid, her actions influenced me to always treat others with kindness. That seems like such a basic lesson, but it in retrospect it was vital to foster those positive interactions at a young age. And personally, Mrs. Krupowicz was and is the best example to follow, as she goes above a level of simply practicing politeness. Her acceptance of others has reminded me to maintain an open mind, and her encouragement has assured me in pursuing what I love. So thank you, Mrs. Krupowicz, for your greatly cherished guidance and everything else you do.
Connie McCarthy's teacher: Katie Carter
I first got to know Mrs. Carter during my junior year while planning a 5k fundraiser. Though she barely knew me, she was incredibly willing to help me in any way possible, and I quickly realized the depth of her character. This understanding has been reiterated many times this past year in AP Biology. It was Mrs. Carter’s first year teaching this course, and she put countless hours into planning lessons and labs to ensure the success of her students. When something didn’t work, she pushed through to a solution, and I strive to have that same determination. Mrs. Carter is also the most empathetic person I know. Whether a student is struggling inside or outside of the classroom, she feels deeply for them and makes it clear that she wants to help. She also gives a noticeable effort to make everyone in the class feel important and included, and whenever we have an extra minute in class, she fills it with something fun like a Buzzfeed quiz to figure out what our “type” is. To top it off, Mrs. Carter has the best set of catch phrases ever, including gems like “Suckity sucks,” “cut the fluff,” and “nerd out.” Thank you, Mrs. Carter, for showing me what it means to be a hard worker, a good person, and someone set on getting the most out of life.