Wed, Aug. 21

Teacher Appreciation Week: Mingus senior has two favorite teachers

Like most successful students, Mingus Union senior Makenzie Mabery has had several teachers she really likes, but two stand above all the rest.

As one of her favorite teachers, Makenzie picked Craig Mai her math teacher last year for Algebra II. She said that math is her least favorite subject.

It may seem interesting that a high school student would find one of her favorite teachers in the course that is her least favorite. But Makenzie explains.

“All through high school, I’ve never understood math, up until last year,” she said. “I’ve been through tutors. The word struggling doesn’t describe it. No matter how hard I worked, I was always up against the wall.”

Makenzie said that Mr. Mai was “just so innovative with his teaching.”

“He was able to wrap my mind around concepts that I wasn’t even able to look at before,” she said. “He’s very calm in his teaching, and he’s always excited about math.”

Makenzie said that she now has much more confidence in her ability to learn math. She will be taking a math course next year when she enters Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, where she will major in behavioral science and minor in visual communications. She will pay tuition to take a math course in summer school.

Her interest in visual communications is the basis for her selection of Tyler Novak as her other favorite teacher. Makenzie is passionate about art. She is an oil painter, and art teacher Mr. Novak is the main reason for her passion.

“My freshman year I could barely draw a stick figure,” Makenzie says. “Today, I found out that I won a $1,500 Sedona Fine Arts scholarship.

“That will pay for my math class in summer school.”

Makenzie said that Mr. Novak just brings “the most intense fire at you. And you can’t escape it. He pushes you. He’s a relentless teacher.”

She said that Mr. Novak has a great view on education.

“He taught me how and why to create,” Makenzie said. “That has driven me to new levels.”

Makenzie has been in art all four years. “I’m in A/P Studio Art,” she explained. “It’s rigorous and I love it.”

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