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Everyday Heroes: How Teachers Change Lives

Some teachers have the ability to leave a mark on their students. They earn a place in students’ hearts through their actions, contributions, encouraging words, and the things they teach us beyond the classroom. Teachers have the most important job in the world. They are the ones who guide students and help them achieve their dreams so that one day they can do something extraordinary- our future is on their hands.

There are teachers around our community that have changed lives and their hard work deserves to be highlighted. Melanie Hutsell, French teacher at Peachtree Ridge High School, is one of those heroes who deserves to be in the spotlight.

Ms. Hutsell is a French teacher and Department Chair for Modern and Classical Languages. She is an inspirational teacher who cares about her students’ improvements on their academic journey and outside of the classroom. I am honored to say that Ms. Hutsell has changed my life and that of my classmates. When I started learning French, I did not believe that I would learn to love it as I do know. I was confused as to what I wanted to do after I graduated high school; however, having Ms. Hutsell as a teacher made me realize that I loved learning different languages and that I wanted to continue to do it in the future.

Through her engaging activities and enthusiasm, Ms. Hutsell ensures that every student is getting the best learning experience possible. She creates a safe environment where students can walk in and feel free to be themselves; it is a comforting feeling to be in a space free of judgment and where people care about you. She creates a connection with all of her students so that they feel safe to ask questions and for help when they need it since many students are scared to admit they don’t understand something. However, Ms.Hutsell makes sure that everyone understands the content and that we all improve. Her interactive lessons allow every student to interact with one another and it has allowed me to get to know everybody in my class, which is oftentimes hard to do when a school has 3,248 enrolled students. She is someone who genuinely cares about her students and treats them all equally; she wants all of us to succeed. Adelmarie, one of my fellow classmates, says that she is grateful to have Ms. Hutsell as a teacher because, “She genuinely cares about every single one of us. She makes sure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed and wants us to do so. Ms. Hutsell is a teacher that also cares about our personal life and wants us to be happy. Her class allows us to continue to love our leaning of French, she inspires us to do better.”

Ms. Hutsell does not only actively participate in Peachtree Ridge High School, but she has also participated as a French teacher and department chair for the Foreign Languages at the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, has presented at the FLAG and SCOLT conferences, and studied in Senegal. She uses all of these experiences to improve as a teacher and continue to help her students on their journey and change their lives for the better. It is safe to say that she had changed mine.