Teacher of the Week: Mrs. Julie Thomas of Harlem High School - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Teacher of the Week: Mrs. Julie Thomas of Harlem High School

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MACHESNEY PARK (WREX) -

A Spanish teacher at Harlem High School brings her love for language to the classroom.  Her passion is reaching students and helping them find appreciation for other cultures.  

"So many people live in their own little bubble and being exposed to different cultures and languages helps us to open our eyes and connect across the boarders and it just enriches our own life," Spanish Teacher Julie Thomas said.

School Principal Terrell Yarbrough said her passion is what makes her stand out.

"I think just with her, its just being able to get across to every one the importance of diversity and just stepping outside your comfort zone," Yarbrough said. 

Junior Destiney Schaefer said she likes learning about other cultures.

"Knowing that people do different things, and that their languages is different, and the way they eat and all that stuff is just great," Schaefer said.

Being a Harlem graduate also helps Thomas reach students.

"My whole family has been through Harlem and so when I was looking for a teaching job I was holding out for Harlem," Thomas said.  "I wanted to go back to my alma mater and I just love it here.  I still hold the school records here from 1997 to 1998."

Those records were from the track team.  She later received an athletic scholarship to Marquette University.

She now brings that dedication to the classroom.  

"She always inspires us to do the best that we can," Junior Devyn Austin said.

Right now she is working on fundraisers for students to travel the United States and two international trips are planned for this summer.

"Oh I think its amazing," Austin said. "Its a one in a life time opportunity for me."

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