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Jennifer Willis, Borchardt Elementary School

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Jennifer Willis

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013 12:00 am

Describe your typical Saturday afternoon.

A typical Saturday afternoon would find me either at my son’s baseball game or my daughter’s softball game. I spend A LOT of time at the good ole ballpark! And I love it!

What are your favorite movies?

My all time favorite movie is Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon. I love the message that anyone can be better than their circumstances. Other favorite movies include: An American Tail, Remember the Titans, and Coach Carter.

What is one thing that your students would never guess about you?

Well, as any of my former or current students would tell you, I’m pretty much an open book. I share so much of my life with my students! But, I bet they would be surprised to know that I am TERRIFIED of thunder and lightning.

Did you play high school and/or college sports?

Yes, I played both softball and soccer while at Tokay High School. I also played softball at Chico State for a short time.

What would you do if you won a million dollars?

I would buy a lot of flip flops! After that, I would take a trip to Hawaii (my favorite place). I would also invest in my children’s future — college, sports, etc. Finally, I would donate to two causes that I am passionate about: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and also to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, an organization committed to finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

What is something that makes you happy?

My son, my daughter, and my husband. If you ever need to smile or laugh, just hang out with us for an afternoon!

Was there a particular teacher that had a strong influence on your life? Tell me about them.

YES, Mr. V. He was my sixth grade teacher at Live Oak. I remember being scared to be in his class — he was a man and he seemed tough. But, he taught me more that year than I could have ever imagined. Not only did he teach me long division and all the capitals of the South American countries, but he taught me what it means to be a good person — to be trustworthy, dependable, work together, and never take yourself too seriously. I have used the life lessons he taught me when I was 11 throughout my life. I am lucky enough to call him a colleague today ... and he continues to teach me new things!

What is your best student success story?

I have had several, and not every one has been in the academic arena. I am proud of all of the students I have had over the years. I have watched as a young man fought for his life while awaiting a heart transplant and then eventually graduated from University of Montana. I cheered a young lady on as she accomplished a reading goal while also dealing with the separation of her parents. I have laughed with students, cried with students, celebrated with students, and struggled with students. Each child comes with their very unique story and each one has touched me. I am blessed to do what I do.

If you could teach one life lesson to every student, what would it be?

To never be afraid to take a chance. Take the risk, you will never know what you have inside of yourself unless you are willing to try. And the really cool thing about learning and growing? In almost every situation, there are do overs ... so what if you don’t succeed the first time — try again!

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