To the editor,

For Teacher Appreciation Week, I would like to recognize two educators who have had a significant impact on my life: Ms. Cassie O’Rourke and Mrs. Kerry Marren.

Ms. O’Rourke is an English teacher at Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA). During my freshman year, I was a student in her American Literature class. Thanks to Ms. O’Rourke, I had the chance to take two independent studies, where I conducted my own research on a chosen theme. I chose feminism in comic books and LGBTQ+ literature. Ms. O’Rourke provided me with a safe, welcoming and supportive environment where I was able to deeply examine more sensitive or unconventional topics.

Mrs. Marren is my school’s family resource coordinator and serves as our school’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) adviser. Educational impact and school culture are not only created by teachers but by all school staff. She has worked for years to get the GSA started, and it finally happened this year. Thanks to her dedication and leadership, our GSA provides many students a safe, educational and affirming space, something many students lack in these isolating times.

You do not have to see a teacher or adviser face to face every day to feel their impact on your life. I hope other students have the chance to feel the same support and positive impact from their teachers that I receive in my virtual school environment. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Kaia Stueck

Grade 11, Wisconsin Virtual Academy

De Pere

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