Time is often the best gift you can give a child and it’s something English teacher Laura Hunter gives freely.
“They might not have somebody else in their corner to do that,” said Hunter who teaches at Harmony School of Nature in Dallas. “I may be the only person that sees where they’re at and where they could be and believes in them.”
Hunter teaches 7th grade English but continues to mentor and advise her former students all the way through graduation.
One of the many students Hunter believes in is junior Christopher Rodolph. She’s encouraged his studies in STEM and his passion for theater ever since he walked into her classroom four years ago.
“It says a lot. A teacher is someone who is supposed to inspire you and is supposed to guide you through life and she’s done that for me,” said Rodolph.
It’s why Rodolph nominated Hunter to be an Excellent Educator.
In his nomination letter Rodolph writes, "She’s cared for her students past and present and has done more for our school than I could put into 500 words. She’s the best teacher that I’ve ever had and cannot thank her enough for everything she’s done for me, my family and classmates.”
But it wasn’t just students who nominated Hunter, fellow teachers and counselors also wrote letters praising Hunter’s dedication.
“I think it speaks to the difference that teachers make in the lives of everyone in their community. Obviously she makes a difference in the lives of her students but she affects the lives of her fellow teachers and the administrators that she works with,” said Neil Robinson with Southern Methodist University.
SMU awarded Harmony School of Nature with a $1,000 check for Hunter’s dedication to students.
The recognition comes as Hunter juggles her 7th grade class load and oversees the school's one-act-play.
“To see them win and to see them succeed is really the best thing ever because they have really created something from nothing,” Hunter said.
Pregnant with her third child due this spring, Hunter said she’s determined to be there for her theater students year-end production even if the baby has other plans.
“I will be there. I told [the students] I will either be there on bed rest with my feet up or I will be there holding a tiny baby, but I will be there with you guys,” said Hunter.
Hunter said she plans spending half of the money on new Harry Potter books for her English students and the other half will be invested in the theater production.