Thank You, Ms. Hatheway

Braden Wong, Staff Writer

For many AHS students, there is a teacher who has inspired them, so indelibly changed their lives for the better, that they will carry memories and lessons for the rest of their lives. I know this is true because for me, that teacher is Ms. Hatheway.

Walking into Ms. Hatheway’s classroom every morning in junior year was the most amazing first period experience of my high school career. The moment students set foot in her class, they cannot help but feel Ms. Hatheway’s infectious positivity and energizing humor. She constantly checks in with students, her class spacing out projects and tests, holding restorative community-building events, and even hosting movie-watching periods to allow students to relax in between assignments. The workload balance she achieves for students is one-of-a-kind, caring for each of them in a truly engaging classroom experience. Meanwhile, regular writing assignments both in-class and at-home reinforce essential writing skills and prepare us for the daunting AP test.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon an article which described the act of writing as “shoveling a mountain of s*** to find an ounce of gold.” At first, I laughed (for it is peculiar how the most humorous jokes are often those striking most true!), and then reminisced about my special moments with Ms. Hatheway—specifically, a discussion we had about Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. The exchange, though brief, reinforced a lesson I would carry until this day: the value of getting a first draft out, no matter how hilariously inept it may be, as a natural process of writing. It has been through moments like these, and many one-on-one discussions with Ms. Hatheway, that I realize no other teacher has ever invested as much care, inspired me, or displayed as much personal interest in student well-being as she. Ms. Hatheway is truly dedicated to her students in a way that can only be described as magical.

My most memorable moments with Ms. Hatheway were made not just in her classroom, but in the moments in between. During college application season, I shared her an article I was considering entering in several writing competitions. Though she was undoubtedly in high demand from her past students and busy writing many college recommendation letters, she devoted time in her busy schedule to provide detailed feedback and encouragement for me at a time when I needed it the most, catapulting my writing journey and love for the subject. Later, she would introduce me to her friend Mr. Mike Mercurio, a humorous poet, in a hilarious email thread I will never forget.

In this excavation for better writing on this metaphorical mountain, I have learned that the discovery of good ideas is expedited through two means—acquiring a bigger shovel and finding motivation—and Ms. Hatheway has provided both. Not only has she provided me the skills to become a better writer, but instilled in me an unwavering love for the subject that I will carry for the rest of my life. Thank you, Ms. Hatheway, for being my mentor and source of so many wonderful memories. We wish you the best as you continue impacting other students for the better!