Lifelong Memories

After almost 40 years, El Campoan Karen Hoffer found a lucky coin, pictured above, given to her from her third grade teacher at Hutchins Elementary, Claudine Wood. Many other locals also had memorable teachers who made lasting impressions on their lives decades later, and shared their favorie moments of their educational career in honor of teacher appreciation week.

Countless teachers working at local schools go above and beyond daily to help their students, particularly during the last year’s trials induced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

To celebrate these efforts during teacher appreciation week, which began Monday, locals recalled the educators who made the biggest impact on their lives.

Kaye Foegelle of El Campo appreciates the extra effort that Breana Johnson, a sixth grade math teacher and coach at El Campo Middle School puts into interacting with her students. Foegelle’s son, Reed, was taught by Johnson last year.

“Miss Breana Johnson is so special to us because she went out of her way, after school was out, to call me to let me know my son made a 100 on a test,” Foegelle said. “You don’t find teachers like this much – that care this much.”

Now that Reed is in seventh grade, Johnson still remembers him and cheers him on at sporting events. It’s the little things Johnson does to show her students she cares that make the biggest impact, Foegelle said.

All teachers have different approaches for helping students retain information and getting them to focus on lessons. Some are easy-going while others have a stricter classroom management style.

Local Vicki Jamerson Roberts had a tough love teacher, Wanda Plentl, when she attended Louise High School.

“I always thought she hated me,” Roberts said via the Leader-News Facebook page. “She didn’t put up with my laziness and would stay after school to make sure I did my work. She made the biggest impact on my life.”

Most educators try their best to prepare students for their future and their careers, and sometimes they are so impactful that students want to become teachers themselves.

Cindy Glaze Savino of El Campo is a retired teacher from El Campo ISD. Her love of teaching began long ago, cultivated by her second grade teacher at Hutchins Elementary, Dot Hermansen.

I “always wanted my students to want to learn, modeling after some of the best teachers I had,” Savino said. “Mrs. Hermansen is definitely one of the best. She taught back then the way teaching is supposed to be.”

She was in Hermansen’s reading class in 1967, which was Hermansen’s first year of teaching, Savino said. Years later, Savino’s son was also taught by Hermansen.

When asked the question “Do you have a favorite memory with a local teacher?” on the newspaper’s social media, almost 100 comments were left. Some comments detailed specific interactions with great teachers at ECISD, Louise ISD or St. Philip Catholic School during the last few years. Others described memories from decades ago that have impacted their lives since.

One commenter recently found a keepsake from their days in elementary school almost 40 years ago.

Karen Hoffer of El Campo was a third grader at Hutchins Elementary in 1976, and her teacher was Claudine Wood. For Christmas that year, Wood handed each of her students a quarter wrapped inside a little card. Hoffer still has the package, coin unspent, today.

“I will always remember when she handed our gifts out she said, ‘If you keep this, you will never be broke,’” Hoffer said via the Leader-News social media. “Almost 40 years later, I still have mine wrapped the way you gave it to our class.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.