At East High School, Katrina Garnhart is an English teacher who is less worried about the words on the pages and more interested in the lives of her students. East High School Senior Adrianna Agee said Garnhart is always there for her, "It doesn't matter what it is. If it's going to college, if it's English homework, sometimes math homework, she's always there. She's just basically as a second counselor."
In her 10th year at East, Garnhart has learned school is more than just the grade that a student earns. Her gratification comes when her students achieve outside the classroom. Garnhart said, "Just get them to be good people. Some of them have really impressed just as people in general. I love that. I lvoe to see our community grow stronger by having better people."
Helping the community is the basis of her Capstone English course. In her class, students don't simply write research papers, instead, they research a problem in the Rockford area and try to find a solution for it.
Garnhart said the real world aspect to the projects is what really captivates the students, "They all have different aspects of what they wanted to do, but because they are so interested in it I think that's what drives them."
Projects that span from a greenhouse being built at East to a hydroelectric home, it's her students interest in their topics that drives her. "The fact that they are all so passionate about what they are doing in their individual projects really makes me happy. It makes me want to help them."
A passion that she shows to students from the day they walk into school until the day they graduate.
Senior Adrianna Agee is graduating in the Spring and has felt the impact of her teacher, "To know Garnhart is there to help you every step of the way until you walk across that stage, it's the most amazing feeling ever."