When William Morris, a senior at Gainesville High School, found he would have the opportunity to honor the teacher who had the biggest influence on his life, he knew exactly who he would chose.
Morris was honored by the Gainesville Kiwanis Club as one of the co-winners of the Gainesville City School System STAR student award. He selected his academic team coach and English teacher, Pamela Michelsen, as his STAR teacher.
“My motivation for being a STAR student was to award Ms. Michelsen,” Morris said. “She’s fantastic.”
Morris intends to major in history at Harvard University in the fall. He said he’s nervous about the future but eager to take advantage of the opportunities life gives him.
Morris said his life could have easily taken another path without the guidance of teachers like Michelsen.
Morris said he’s glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of Gainesville High School.
“Something that is unique to Gainesville High School is that the community is so strong,” Morris said. “Just in every aspect of the school, I don’t think that I would have succeeded or done well at any other school.”
Michelsen said that Morris has had a lot of very good teachers looking out for him over the years and making sure he stayed on the right path.
Michelsen said she admires Morris’ ability to think under pressure and his willingness to take risks.
She said his hunger for knowledge is “infectious.”
“There are many students who have good SAT scores and work hard to get good grades,” Michelsen said. “But William approaches knowledge with this great sense of wonder and enthusiasm.”