For some young people, a teacher may be the only person they come in contact with, who will listen and validate them. Those connections can last a lifetime.

Best Way to Show Your Favorite Teacher Some Gratitude

This is the story of a high school welding teacher who left an unbelievably kind mark on one of his students. We know this story because the student wrote to us to tell us that even ten years after being in his class, she is still thriving because of his kindness when she needed it most.

Congratulations to 97ZOK's Teacher of the Week

Teacher of the Week-Mr. William Duncan from Harlem High School in Machesney Park, Illinois

William was nominated by Jessie Kennedy, who took his welding class when she was 18 years old, she is now 28. Jessie writes,

Mr. Duncan is the Harlem high school welding teacher I had for my Junior and senior years of High School. Although I am now 28, I still can’t help but tear up when I think about it. You were there to see every breakup, you were there to knock some sense into me (with kind words) when I needed it. You were even there when my mother passed away. You were there cheering me on thru my horrible welds. You made me feel so proud, that I could’ve held them up in front of the whole world with confidence, When In reality I would’ve just gotten tomatoes thrown at me. That’s how powerful words of encouragement are because although I was a horrible welder at first in reality, you made me believe otherwise. I pursued welding as a career because you instilled confidence in me, something I never had before. I ended up getting better and doing very well at my job and even went to take on pipefitting at a training center in Aurora. I had no idea what I was doing so you and Daryl took the time out of your busy days to prepare me. You made me feel so proud of my pipe that had an entire hole blown through it that I continued on in my journey. I know for a fact that if you weren’t there to tell me that I was the best welder in the world that you made me think I was, I would’ve never pursued any type of welding. But at the end of the day, Mr. Duncan is more than just a teacher; you were my mentor. You did for me, what my own father wouldn’t have done for her. I still find myself driving past that old shop whenever I just feel lost.

From the very bottom of my heart, thank you. For believing in me when nobody else did, not even myself. For being my Rock when I had nobody else. I will forever hold you in a special place in my heart. Years and years ago when I had last visited him, he still had that dream catcher I made him out of metal when I was in high school. I wonder if it’s still there.

When I had the chance to speak with Willima on the phone, he told me that the dreamcatcher Jessie made is still hanging exactly where she left it, over a decade ago.

As Teacher of the Week, Mr. Duncan was surprised with a cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes and money to spend at WM Day Spa Salon.

Click HERE to nominate your favorite to be 97ZOK's Teacher of the Week.

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