Where do I even begin?

I remember the first time I met you. I was extremely intimidated by you. You radiated intelligence and my high school freshmen self didn't know what to do. I already knew you would be a trying teacher that challenged her students before I even had the chance to have you as a teacher myself.

The first time I had you as a somewhat teacher was my sophomore year of high school. I joined yearbook with my best friend at the time, but sadly we were put into different periods for yearbook. I was so intimidated that entire year - you have NO idea.

At this point in my life, I was really discovering my love for writing. I was realizing how easy and natural it came to me. I was excelling in everything that had to do with English and writing. Yearbook gave me a whole new way of looking at writing - in a more journalistic point of view.

I didn't know it yet but yearbook, and most importantly you, would be what led me to where I am today at Syracuse University.

I made it through sophomore year fine. I warmed up to you a bit more, but it wasn't until the following year, my junior year of high school, that I would really start to form a relationship with you.

I really started to focus on my writing and trying to create the best stories I could. I kept getting positive feedback from the editors that year and yourself. You were giving me articles to do on the side because you had confidence in my writing abilities. My confidence went from 0 to 100 real quick that year.

Then came the end of junior year. You designated me and the girl I began this yearbook journey with as the 2016-2017 editors for our senior year. I was so extremely happy and excited to be doing something I loved.

That year, my senior year, I had the privilege of having you as an English teacher as well. Not only was I receiving your guidance in a journalistic writing way, but also a more academic and creative way. I was getting the best of both worlds.

My senior year I continued to grow as a writer in all ways because of you. I craved your guidance and your feedback. I didn't just want positive feedback either. I wanted you to criticize me. I wanted to be the best I could be and you helped me do just that.

When college decision time came, the support I had had from you drove me to accept the challenge of the most prestigious communications school in America. I felt confident enough in my abilities to continue my writing and academic career there.

I knew I wasn't perfect and that I had miles to go yet, but I knew I was prepared for the hard work ahead because of you and all you had done for me.

I remember one moment during yearbook when I had to write a story for a spread and I cranked it out in one class period. You said that that was the fastest and most effective turn around you had seen by any of your editors. I am pretty sure I couldn't stop smiling the rest of that day.

The day I graduated and the last day I came in during the summer to finish the final touches of the yearbook were two of the saddest days of my life. I was saying goodbye not only to a mentor and teacher but someone who had become a friend and a huge part of my life.

When I left for college I took on new writing classes and new professors, but I still carried your teachings and your support with me. I wrote each paper confidently and with all the tips and tricks I had learned while having you as a teacher.

I joined The Odyssey because of the confidence you gave me, and you are a huge reason as to why I even started my own blog.

To conclude, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being a constant support system in my life. Thank you for caring, not only for me but all your students. You have made impacts in many people's lives.

You are exactly what a teacher should be. You push your students, you form relationships with your students, and you only want them to succeed and chase their dreams. You prepare them not only for college but for life.

Every student should have the opportunity to have a teacher like you.

Thank you for everything you continue to do for me even though I am no longer your student. You have made an impact on me that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Thank you,

Caitlin Johnston