Creating a difference

Algebra 2 teacher Julie Williams receives nomination for National Life Changer Award

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Creating a difference

Math teacher Julie Williams assists senior Asa Battles during a test on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Math teacher Julie Williams assists senior Asa Battles during a test on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Kenzi Gray

Math teacher Julie Williams assists senior Asa Battles during a test on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Kenzi Gray

Kenzi Gray

Math teacher Julie Williams assists senior Asa Battles during a test on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

By Clarise Tujardon and Kenzi Gray

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Every year, 16 teachers from around the nation are nominated for the National Life Changer Award, an annual award that recognizes teachers for their hard work. By going to the website, anyone can nominate a teacher that makes a difference in his or her school by filling out a nomination form online. Algebra 2 teacher Julie Williams is one of the nominees for this year’s award and was nominated by her former student, Shelby Lobaugh. 

“My philosophy is relationships,” Williams said. “If I can’t build a relationship with a kid, then I can’t teach them anything. So first, they [have to] trust me as a person and know I love and care about them.”

Williams works alongside Algebra 2 teacher Christopher Hanson in the math department where they both incorporate different teaching methods into their classrooms. Williams brings an emotional aspect of teaching into her classroom, whereas Hanson focuses on the academic side of teaching.

“The very first day I met her three years ago, she was my team leader in math models,” Hanson said. “And it was my first year teaching at LHS right before school started. She was very emotional and enthusiastic about having students reach their potential.”

Former teacher and receptionist Dixie McMath describes Williams as a caring and loving individual. During Williams’ youth, McMath witnessed her personality evolve and her love for teaching grow.

“[I loved] being around her at pep rallies, at events [or] just being around her,” McMath said. “She’s uplifting. I can’t think of any bad experience I’ve ever had with her and you can’t say that about a lot of people.”

If Williams wins this award, she will receive $10,000 and plans on donating the money to charity.

“If I win [the money] that comes along with it, I plan on donating a portion of it to my church,” Williams said. “I would definitely [give it to] the [school] and [to] one of my friends who has a non-profit called ‘Just Because.’ I would donate some [money] to her, for doing good.”

Whether or not Williams wins the award, she hopes to give a positive message to her students which sparks her to continue doing what she loves by reaching out to others and continue teaching math. Throughout it all, one concept of Williams’ life will never change: her personality.

“I want to teach my [students] that once they’re in my classroom, I genuinely love them and care about them,” Williams said. “I feel like they’re a part of my life and that I hope I made a positive impact on them.”

This story was originally published on Farmers’ Harvest on September 30, 2019.