Winners announced for this year’s “The Teacher Who Inspired Me” essay contest | MyWindsorNow.com

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Winners announced for this year’s “The Teacher Who Inspired Me” essay contest

Ryan Smith, right, a fifth-grader at Mountain View Elementary School, stands with teacher Colleen Lodermeier in her classroom. Ryan is one of the winners of this year's "The Teacher Who Inspired Me" essay contest, for which he submitted an essay about how Lodermeier has inspired him.

Essay contest winners

The winners of the 2017 “The Teacher Who Inspired Me” essay contest are as follows:

Pre-K-second grade:

» Julia Fotsch, about Grandview Elementary’s Denise Kennedy, first place.

» Leah Carey, about Grandview Elementary’s Lori Mathern, second place.

» Riley Moore, about Grandview Elementary’s Denise Kennedy, third place.

Third-fifth grade:

» Ryan Smith, about Mountain View Elementary’s Colleen Lodermeier, first place.

» Lindsey Hinson, about Tozer Primary’s Melanie Butler, second place.

» Adison Anderson, about Skyview Elementary’s Dan Harrison, third place.

Middle School:

» David Conover, about Windsor Middle School’s Matt Hill, first place.

» Emily Hinson, about Mountain View Elementary’s Brianna Twoig, second place.

» Dainian Raiden Price, about Mountain View Elementary’s Le Do, third place.

Windsor High School:

» James Hartwell, about WHS’s Michael Thompson, first place.

» Kamille Hocking, about WHS’s Ross Wilbur, second place.

» Grace Langhorn, about WHS’s Chris Jones, third place.

Ryan Smith did not like reading until his teacher helped him find a book he could connect with.

The Mountain View Elementary School fifth-grader said he had always had a passion for writing, but until his teacher, Colleen Lodermeier, recommended he read Percy Jackson's "The Lightning Thief," he never enjoyed reading.

"I read a lot now, and I know how to pick books I really like," Smith said.

Smith said he now can comprehend more in his classes and other schoolwork because of his reading.

"I kind of, like, use my books to help me," he said.

When Lodermeier was in about fifth grade, she read "Anne of Green Gables," which she said helped her find a love of reading she hopes to pass on to all of her students.

"I think it's important for all kiddos to know what they love to read," she said. "Because if they don't find a book that speaks to them, then they're not going to do it on their own free time."

Ryan won first place in the third- through fifth-grade section of the Windsor-Severance Re-4 Education Foundation's The Teacher Who Inspired Me essay contest.

He wrote about Lodermeier and how she inspired him to "keep writing, enjoy reading, and to work my hardest on my work," he said in his essay.

The essay contest is in its fourth year, and 75-100 students from around the district participate each year, according to an email from Kimberly Schutt, president of the education foundation.

"The students often talk about how a particular teacher sparked a love of reading, helped them tackle a difficult subject or inspired them to pursue a particular career path," Schutt said in the email.

Students who win the essay contest each receive $100 from the Bank of Colorado, and Greg Backhaus of Edward Jones and Knowledge Bound provide gift cards to the teachers featured in the first-place essays.

Lodermeier is a Windsor native and said she also had many teachers in the district who inspired her, but was surprised when Ryan chose to write his essay about her.

"I was honored, and felt really privileged that he chose to do that," she said. "It meant a lot to me."

Without Lodermeier, Ryan said he would not be where he is now.

"She has inspired me greatly and I couldn't ask for more," he wrote in his essay.