By Danessa Allen
Due to Mistee Cartwright’s genuine concern for her students she has been chosen as February’s teacher of the month. Cartwright has been an English teacher at Sterling High School for a total of 13 years. Cartwright says that there are plenty of reasons why she decided to teach at SHS. She stated, “This is where I went to high school, and I don’t know, something inside me was telling me to go back to the high school. When I first applied for a teaching position it was over at the middle school, and I got offered the job right away. However, I also interviewed for a job at the high school. I started getting worried when I didn’t get a call from the high school on the same day. Fortunately, I got a call from SHS the next day, and I was extremely relieved because I felt like I would connect better to high school students.”
Over the past 13 years, Cartwright has met hundreds of students, but no matter what student she was trying to teach, she has had the same goal since she first began teaching. “It’s the same goal I have every year, and that goal is to make a connection with my students to not only help them help them grow academically but emotionally and socially as well,” said Cartwright. As a teacher, she is often asked what made her want to be a teacher, and what sparked her interest in educating children. Cartwright says, “I don’t know really, ever since I was very young I’ve wanted to be a teacher. It was always something I stuck with, I chose to be an English teacher because I love to read, and English was always my favorite subject in school. So I just believed that sharing my knowledge with kids would be something I would really enjoy. I wanted to have a class that students could have fun, but would also learn something along the way.” Cartwright has many things that she loves about teaching, like meeting new students every year, but Cartwright, like most teachers, has one thing that she loves the most about her job, she says, “My favorite part of teaching is just to watch students grow over the four years that I know them and continue to watch them succeed after they leave SHS. There is something amazing about watching kids grow and seeing how much they accomplish after high school.”
Of course growing up in Sterling and going to SHS had a big impact on Cartwright when it came to what she wanted to do as a profession, “My high school English teacher, named Mary Smith, right here at SHS was the person who inspired me most to become a teacher.” Cartwright was motivated by her own high school teacher, and now she is motivating her own students every day. Over the 13 years that Cartwright has been teaching she definitely made a lifetime of memories with her students and fellow staff. “We had a military day here at SHS a few years ago, and this was when the national guard set up their climbing wall and brought their personal helicopter. All the students participated in all the drills and worked together, and the staff also got to do quite a bit of bonding as friends instead of coworkers. I believe that it was one of the best days I’ve ever had as a teacher at SHS,” she stated.
Outside of the classroom there are many things that the students of SHS do not know about Cartwright. “I collect shopping bags, I have thousands upon thousands of bags and I collect them from all over the world, from all the different places I’ve traveled, and I think that it’s a pretty interesting collection,” she says. Cartwright is always a person who has had a genuine heart, and she has one thing that she loves to do more than anything. “Spending time with my family is the most important thing to me. Traveling is also a great pastime, but I think it doesn’t matter where you are going, but who you are with,” Cartwright says, and anyone who knows Cartwright is aware that she loves traveling all over the country, whether that is on a class trip, or just a trip with her family.
As an English teacher, Cartwright has a wide selection of novels and stories she enjoys but there is one author that Cartwright prefers over any other, and that is Tom Clancy. Cartwright also has many other favorite things, and one thing she thoroughly enjoys that nobody really knows are street tacos. Cartwright swears that there is nothing like a genuine street taco. Cartwright has been a very big part of SHS over the years , and she has made a lasting impact on the school. We’d like to thank Mistee Cartwright for her many years of teaching, and the many more to come!