Over the past year, FindingDulcinea has spotlighted several amazing educators, such as Alan Haskvitz, an American teacher who has taught nearly every grade level and core subject over the past 20 years, and written books and articles about education. Our Educator Profiles on the findingEducation Digital Teachers' Lounge are further proof that there are countless educators driven to make a real difference in their students' lives.Recently, we published an article about students in rural districts and whether they get a fair shot at top tier colleges and universities. In addition to discovering eye-opening information about the challenges faced by students outside of cities and wealthier suburbs—fewer mentors who've attended Ivy League schools, for example—the article introduced us to an amazing woman named Angela Bakker-Lee, a native of the rural town of LaCenter, Wash.
Bakker-Lee granted findingDulcinea an interview in which she discussed the positive influences she was lucky enough to have while growing up. Teachers like Linda Lee Tatro helped Bakker-Lee discover that there was a big world outside of her hometown.
"I have no doubt that knowing her changed my life. She encouraged me in a way that no other teacher had up to that point. She had more confidence in me than I did. And I think she was the first adult to really talk to me," Bakker-Lee explained.
After attending Stanford University and being awarded a Marshall Scholarship, which allowed her to study in Europe, Bakker-Lee settled in New York, where she works in management consulting. Although she’s clearly a naturally driven person, Bakker-Lee credits her teachers in LaCenter for their encouragement and belief in her when she started applying to highly competitive schools.
“Two of my favorite teachers were exceptionally supportive and excited for me: Sharon Bryan (English) and Joanne Bevans (Biology/Chemistry). They encouraged me to do it, and never seemed to have any doubts that I would make it to my goal. That meant a lot to me, knowing that they believed in me,” Bakker-Lee says.
Of course, getting into college is just the first step. Even after they've graduated, students can always use an extra confidence boost, especially knowing they're up against a shaky economy. May is almost here, and you'll find tips for what to give new grads in our feature on Finding the Perfect Gift for Your College Graduate.Sarah Amandolare