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North Hills Teachers Share Stories of the Teachers who Inspired Them

In honor of National Teacher Day, teachers in the North Hills School District were treated to catered lunches Tuesday & shared stories of teachers who made an impact in their lives. What about you? What teacher do you still remember and why?

Teachers and staff were treated to a catered lunch Tuesday afternoon at in honor of National Teacher Day

According to the National Educators' Association, the origin of the day of recognition is "murky" but it believes it came about this way: 

Around 1944 Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day.

The day's celebrations have stretched since then into a week-long recognition of the work teachers do. 

Tuesday, at the West View elementary school, second-grade teacher Marylou Stefanko "oohed" and "aahhed" over the hot lunch of pulled pork, corn on the cob, baked beans and farm animal-themed cupcakes. 

"This is amazing," she said. "They took a lot of care and concern." 

The lunch was organized by the West View PTA

"We do the lunch every year as a way of thanking them," said Kelly Myers, chair of the social and hospitality committee for West View and mother of an 8-year-old daughter who attends the school.

As teachers and staff lunched, they talked to Patch about the teachers in their past who had a memorable impact on their lives. 

"My high school Spanish teacher, Mrs. Dirda," was the one, said Jill Hoerner, a kindergarten teacher who has taught in the for nine years. 

Mary Dirda still teaches in the North Hills School District. 

"I didn't have the confidence to go to college, and she pushed me," Hoerner said. 

For Martin Richter, a fifth grade gifted education teacher, it was his sixth grade teacher.

"He brought in such a wealth of information from beyond the classrooms," he said. "He did a play ever year, and we had a giant 3-foot iguana."

Jill Zunic, who teaches kindergarten, said her high school creative writing teacher was able to connect his teachings to life, having the students, for example, analyze Bruce Springsteen song lyrics. 

The NEA has also compiled a list of celebrities' most memorable teachers. 

Actress Hilary Swank, who attended Happy Valley Elementary in Bellingham, Washington says: 

“Mr. Sellereit gave me my first acting job in my school productionof The Jungle Book!”

Oprah Winfrey, who attended Wharton Elementary School in East Nashville, TN says: 

I know Iwouldn't be where I am today without my fourth grade teacher, Mrs.Duncan. She so believed in me, and for the first time, made me embrace the idea of learning. I learned to love learning because of Mrs. Duncan."

What about you? Which teacher helped you become the person you are today? In honor of the celebrations this week, give them a public thanks below and share why he or she remains so memorable to you.

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