John Steinbeck once said, “I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”
Teachers come and go just as students come and go. Sometimes a teacher has been so instrumental to the success of so many students that the departure of that teacher might leave a school somewhat crippled. So as the 2012-2013 school year concludes and Mr. Jerry Reed makes his exit from Alamosa High School, there will be drastic changes in the culture and atmosphere of AHS. Like so many students before and after me, I know that Mr. Reed not only taught history or journalism or yearbook, but he taught students how to find themselves. That’s a quality, a lesson that very few teachers have or can teach. So as Mr. Reed departs, here is what he has meant to just a few of his students:
“Like most of the people writing little anecdotes for this story, I have known Mr. Reed primarily in the capacity of teacher. I started getting to know him well during my junior year of high school when I joined the journalism staff. The most memorable thing that Mr. Reed ever told me was, “You have to know the rules to break them.” I was so frustrated because he was making me stay inside the “box” of proper journalism rules. I spent hours finding stories that went against his “rules” and arguing my case, but he would never give in. Instead, he encouraged me to use the “rules” to help me, assuring me that one day I would be able to break them. I’m not sure that I ever did learn how to break the rules properly, but I do know that I am now the one quoting Mr. Reed to my own students when they can’t understand why I won’t let them break the rules.”
- Amanda Myer, 2005
“Mr. Reed is not only a teacher, but a friend and mentor. He is the one person who saw what I could do with a camera, had faith in me to make me the photo editor of the Alamosa High School yearbook and the Alamosan. Because of this I fell in love with sports photography and sports themselves. With his encouragement, teachings and advice, I have become the journalist I am now. Mr. Reed not only made a change in my life, but I see on a daily basis how he is making an impact on kids in his classes now. Because of Mr. Reed’s dedication to helping students strive, I have seen and heard firsthand about Mr. Reed’s impact on his life. Because of the impact he has made on me, Mr. Reed is still someone I can go to for advice and one who has become a lifelong friend. What makes it even better is he is as just as much, if not more, of a Rockies fan than I am. As a school, a district, and a community, Mr. Reed’s impact on a student’s life will definitely be missed.”
- Eric Flores, 2006
‘Mr. Reed is not just a teacher. Mr. Reed is a mentor, a confidant, and a respected member of the faculty, among other things. He approaches his job with a rare enthusiasm and confidence that inspired C-students and A-students alike, to do their best in his class. Whether it was history, geography, journalism, government, yearbook, or a game of chess, Mr. Reed challenged Mean Moose students to be better thinkers and people. There are few teachers, men, and friends like Jerry Reed. I am lucky to have had him as a teacher and to know him as a friend, and Alamosa High School will greatly miss him. From all those who have had the privilege of being in your class, thank you Reedo!”
- Clay Garcia, 2007
“It isn’t difficult for students to remember their favorite teacher. The reasons behind their admiration vary, as some remember teachers for their sense of humor and compassion, while others enjoy educators that offered a shared love of leisure time. It is rare for students to look back on their many years of education and somehow all share the same sentiment for one educator. I believe it is the way that Jerry Reed makes you feel as a person, which extends beyond that of simply being his student. His expectations of you ran deeper than paper grades and test scores. Jerry Reed offers an unwavering conviction in each student, much like that of a parent or relative. The very thought of letting him down proved terribly defeating. It is his infectious love of life and charismatic spirit that as a student, you find yourself reflecting in his classroom. His curriculum extends further than history or journalism, for Reed managed to show how topics had relevance in your personal life. Perhaps that’s what makes Jerry Reed everyone’s favorite teacher – to him, you were a young adult full of energy, personal challenges, dreams, and complexities; he was willing to help tackle every single feat before you. Many students would agree that Jerry Reed become your coach, teammate, cheerleader, and when necessary, your friendly opponent. There’s something special in the way that a student reveres a teacher like Jerry Reed. What’s more special – after all of these years he still treasures you."
- Janell Hendricks, 2006
It’s fair to say, I think, that Mr. Reed is a once in a lifetime educator. So as you graduate from high school again, Mr. Reed, your students – and I’m sure their parents, too – say a bittersweet farewell, and we all thank you for what you have meant to us all.