Alexis Ochoa, sophomore at La Porte High School, won the district Barnes & Noble’s “My Favorite Teacher” essay contest out of more than 300 entries.
The contest rules were to write an essay or poem less than 500 words sharing why they appreciate and admire a teacher and how the teacher has influenced their life.
Ochoa’s essay featured her favorite teacher Mr. Crane, who was an 8th grade Social Studies teacher at Kesling Middle School for 16 years before retiring in 2016.
“I was surprised that I won. The reason why I did make it good was because I really wanted to show my appreciation for this teacher and I wanted to let him know how much of an impact he did make on my life. So when writing the essay, I just thought about all of the fun memories I had in his class and how much he really influenced my life and my school career and how much he’ll continue to make a difference in my life after high school and college,” Ochoa said.
This essay was given as an assignment to the students in Mrs. Cooper’s sophomore Seminar class for a grade. If the students’ chose to, they submitted them into the contest as well. As well as entering them into the contest, Cooper also tried to send the essays to the teachers who were written about.
“I think it’s always a good idea to realize who has value in your life, and to put it into words. For my Seminar kids, any chance to write, I think, is a good opportunity, and when it’s a contest situation, that makes the stakes a little higher. Some took it more serious than others, but she was one who did a really good job,” Cooper said.
On Monday, April 30th, the Barnes and Noble store in Valparaiso held a ceremony for Ochoa and Crane, where she read her essay to the audience and received a certificate of recognition. Crane also received a special award to acknowledge his achievement, as well as praise and recognition from the community.
Ochoa’s essay now moves onto the regional division of the essay contest, which includes a total of seven states in the Midwest region.