It’s no secret, Mrs. Leah Voth's classroom is the place to be at Royse City High.
"I teach three levels of graphic design, journalism, yearbook, student leadership; I’m the student council advisor and the senior class advisor," Voth explained.
She wears a lot of hats, and for the past 20 years she has made it her mission to take learning well beyond her classroom.
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"She has taught me that being yourself isn’t just okay, but that it is everything," Evan Gonzales, one of Voth's students, said.
"She also taught me that no matter how much is going on, be sure to love and respect those who brought you to success," Gonzales said as he read his nomination letter.
"Mrs. Voth is the definition of a great teacher. She came to our school a few years ago, and has changed it for the better!" Brenna Merillat read from her nomination letter. "This spunky, fun filled, go getter of a teacher, deserves to be recognized for all she does."
"It’s not just a job to her. It’s like a lifestyle, basically," Merillat said. "She’s like a mom to me, a second mom to me, and a friend."
"She has taught me so much more than just curriculum," said Gonzales. "She taught me how to be myself, and how to be helpful and kind to others."
"Sorry I get emotional," Voth said while holding back tears. "Again, it’s just an honor to be a part of their journey. They’re ready for the next big thing and just to be able to empower them."
On behalf of Southern Methodist University and in recognition of Voth receiving the Excellent Educators award, a $1,000 check was awarded to Royse City High School.
"Thank you so much, I’m really honored, and I’m really thankful for everyone who nominated me for this award," Voth said.
"She inspires them. She inspires them to purse more than what could be the reality of the moment," SMU spokeswoman Luisa Del Rosal said. "She really wants to strengthen these students and say, 'hey, there’s so much you could be doing with your potential,' and we hope college is part of that. That’s why SMU gets involved."
"Curriculum is important, and lessons are important, and I strive to be creative with my lessons every day," Voth said. "With all the things that I teach, it’s nice to have autonomy and be creative with that. But when it all comes down to it, it’s all about relationships."
And it’s those relationships that Voth says helps her students along their journey to success.
"Just be the good that you want to see in the world," Voth said.
We want to hear from you. Tell us about a North Texas teacher that is going above and beyond and making a difference in the lives of his or her students.