A Note on Gratitude: Hailey Winkleman

December 8, 2021 |

I drew this portrait of Mrs. Driscoll and I as a gift when I graduated high school. She still has it hanging in her classroom!

A Note on Gratitude from our Advocacy Media Coordinator, Hailey Winkleman:

Continuing the attitude of gratitude started by our Executive Director, I wanted to share how one teacher can change the course of someone’s life - in this case, mine. My gift to RSC this year is in honor of Emily Driscoll, a high school math teacher, student council sponsor, and most importantly, my friend.

For some background, I was in a serious car accident during my junior year of high school. I was okay physically, but it took a serious mental toll. During this time, one person was there for me and encouraged me more than anyone else: Emily Driscoll.

Hailey and Mrs. Driscoll at high school graduation.

We had built a good relationship through the student council and math team, and that turned into me staying after school and talking with her about whatever there was to talk about. Sometimes we just listened to music. She never made me feel like I was bothering her, and definitely never got irritated with me. Though, looking back now, I wouldn’t blame her if she did!

Emily takes students seriously in a way that many adults do not and frankly can not. When you are a teenager, everything feels like the end of the world, and she is so understanding of that feeling. Her outlook is positive without being ingenuine; she always has the right thing to say to show empathy, but also to help you find your way out of that feeling. Her heart for students is immeasurable, and it shines through in all that she does.

There are many stories I could share here, but instead I implore you to read our highlight featuring Emily through our I Am A Rural Teacher campaign. She and another of my teachers, Erica Zieren, detail their experiences as a rural high school math department, and they each have amazing perspectives to share. I am beyond humbled and honored that I was able to conduct an interview with these two amazing women - and as part of my job, too!

Emily Driscoll instilled in me a passion for young people, and all of the work that I do now is with them in mind. I am always looking for ways to inspire and empower the next generation of kids to do great things, and that’s a huge reason I applied to work at RSC. Our rural schools - like the one I came from, and where Emily still teaches - are just the place we’re needed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this story; I hope that it reminded you of a teacher who positively impacted your life. If you are inspired like I was, please check out our 2021 Annual Report and consider a gift in honor of that person. Lastly, keep an eye out for the gratitude stories from the rest of our team!

Of course a special thank you to Emily Driscoll. Without you, I would not be anywhere close to where I am today.

Support Our Work

We encourage you to make a gift in honor of a teacher that has influenced your life. Each donation helps further RSC's work in rural communities.

Previous ALL STORIES Next
Group of students from Monmouth College in winter gear standing in a semi-circle with snow covered trees behind them.

TARTANS Take to Training in the Tetons

April 8, 2024

A unique trip brought together two RSC hub partners for intentional learning, memorable experiences, and crucial relationship building in the beautiful snow-covered Teton Mountains.

Regional Hubs, Power of Partnerships, Illinois, Northern Rockies, Place-Based Education, Rural Teacher Corps, Gratitude

Reflections on I Am A Rural Teacher

January 17, 2024

Rural Schools Collaborative looks back on seven years of sharing the stories of rural teachers via the I Am A Rural Teacher project, in their own words.

Place-Based Education, Teacher Profile, Gratitude

A Note on Gratitude: Henry Whitehead

November 20, 2023

Through the help of a college professor and mentor, RSC Program Manager, Henry Whitehead, got started on his career in education.