EPCHS Celebrates the Season with Gratitude


Libby McArthur

EPCHS celebrates the thankful season with their thoughts.

Brian Gutrich, Staff Editor

Thanksgiving is the time of year when we go out of our way to show the people in our lives how grateful we are for all that they do. The EPCHS Mustang Monitor, keeping with this tradition of kindness, sent out a survey to the student body to discuss how the teachers and staff have impacted them. The survey asked for the teachers name and what they appreciate or one favorite memory they have. Here are some of their responses.

Student Responses:

Verde- Great teacher/coach, better person. Taught many kids how to be better people. A favorite moment was beating Oak Lawn in overtime when he couldn’t be on our sideline with us.

McArthur – Good vibes!!! I dig it!!! I could have the most god awful day, but her smile alone cheers me up. Not only is she my favorite teacher, but I think I speak for many when I say that she acts as an inspiration as well. When she talks about her kids!!! I love it!!! She beams and it’s just the purest thing in all honesty.

Mikulskis, C- I am thankful for him because he taught me how to use proper English and taught me new things about grammar. I wouldn’t know where I would be without him. My favorite memory of him was when he told the best Halloween story.

Kovacs- I am thankful for Mr. Kovacs. I’m thankful for him due to the fact that he brought a new, fun, and happy spirit to the school. Being in a class with a new teacher is always nerve-wracking, but Mr. Kovacs is now one of my favorite teachers because of his positive energy and radiating happiness he lets off to not only his students in class, but anyone he comes in contact with. My favorite memory with Mr. Kovacs continues to this day. I struggle in my fourth block class a lot, and I always pass Mr. Kovacs class on the way there. He always has a joke or something funny to say that can always cheer me up.  

Nesler- I had Nesler for World History and I am going to have him for US 1 Honors. I liked his way of teaching, with lectures and a lot of independent work. He also inspired my career choice, a history teacher. He is very knowledgeable on the subject that he teaches, and I feel like he is an asset to EPCHS. I just enjoyed sitting in his class and learning a lot of interesting things.

Flannigan- Not only can Mr. Flannigan crack pretty funny jokes, but he always seems to make class fun while learning as well. He always adds funny lesson videos that have to do with what we’re learning and I really like his effort to relate the music he plays with what we’re learning. Overall he’s just a great teacher and I hope others think so too.

Enstrom- He is an amazing teacher, coach, and mentor. Every interaction with him is positive and I truly enjoy my time spent with him. Mr. Enstrom inspired me to become a history teacher as well, and I hope one day I can be half as good at it as he is. During my APUSH class, we had “soccer moms” that would bring snacks every day. When it was Marty Elwood’s turn, he catered in an entire taco bar (which was delicious). We thought Mr. Enstrom would be mad, but he was just impressed. The food was good, and everyone including him ate, sidetracking the class for around 20 minutes. His grace when faced with this preposterous situation was inspirational, and I’ve never met someone else who rolls with the punches as well as he does.

Gary the security guard- Very thankful to know Gary because he’s really down to earth. He’s not really a father figure but just a nice adult to talk to that actually understands certain situations and gives reasonable feedback. He’s not the disciplinarian everyone may think a security guard may be. He’s actually pretty cool.

Stecich- She cares so much about her students and is willing to help with anything. My favorite memory would have to be when I wasn’t feeling good in class. She made sure if I needed to leave or get water etc. She showed she really cared which is something not many teachers will do, treat their students like their kids.

Mayo- I am thankful for her because not only is she my cheer coach, she is a great person to talk to. If i’m having a rough day she’s one of the first people i’d want to talk to. Also, she does so much for my team to makes us better and I appreciate that. My favorite memory is when we were at Carthage camp and she got really excited and started yelling when we hit our stunts. It’s always funny when she gets super excited.

Chapman-  Because she help me throughout the end of freshman year and the beginning of my sophomore year she is always there for me when I need anything. And she is an amazing person to talk to if you are having any problems . And she also helped me through my diagnosis.

Liane the trainer-  She helps me out with my injuries and talks to me and helps me when I’m having a bad day. My favorite moments are just memories or bugging her in her office.

Hogan- Mrs. Hogan is my favorite teacher. She is very generous and excellent at sharing her knowledge with those around her. She looks out for, helps, and cares for everyone even if they aren’t in her class. Mrs. Hogan is an amazing mother, teacher, and friend. I’m glad she’s at our school. Mrs. Hogan always says hello and asks how I am in the hall, and it always makes my day a billion times better.

Salgado- I’m thankful for Mr.Salgado because he wasn’t just a teacher he would let us talk to him about issues we were having and help us with work we were struggling with even though he didn’t have to. All the times during summer band that we both hated but he made it fun somehow.

Granata-  I am thankful for her always making sure her students get their work on time and pushing them to do better on their SAT and always making sure we’re comfortable in her class. A favorite moment was when we acted out our raven project in the front of the class.  

Minarik-  He sees something in me I don’t see. He tells me to never give up and to love my work, (to let it go with the flow) He’s really caring and he always has a way to make your day 100x better. There was a day where I didn’t like my project at all but he helped me make it better but at first he told me it was a unique project.

Pasek-  He always supports me. Mr. Pasek encouraged me to be successful even though he knows I’m not really a school type of person but, he understands that I have a great talent. I made a cake one time and he showed the whole class the video and made me feel like I was a star or something.

Mankowski- Mr.Mankowski is a great teacher. He is always willing to help even if he is upset with you. He is very funny & friendly and unlike some teachers he actually cares about how you do in class. My favorite memory is when he gave our class a lecture about our grades and how good he wants us to do in class. Also he told us what he wants our grades to be and encouraged us to ask more questions if we were confused so that he can explain to us personally.

Thomas – One person on the Mustang Staff I am highly grateful for is Mr. Thomas. I had Mr. Thomas as my Earth and Space Science Teacher my freshman year and that class was definitely not my strong suit, but Mr. Thomas makes such an effort to help you if you’re struggling and he finds ways to make the boring things fun. My favorite memory is that Mr. Thomas makes everything fun and always has a good sense of humor.

Kazin, A- I’m extremely thankful for this amazing person. She is more than a teacher. She cares for all of her students and treats us as if we are equals. She is always there to help us through anything or even just to listen. I don’t think I have ever had a teacher that is so committed to her students and wants the best for each and every one of them. Amy Kazin is probably the most understanding, forgiving, and loyal teacher I have ever had. If you have a problem she will stick by your side. She teaches life lessons, not just music. She has taught me that music changes lives and has helped me to find a secondary family in the music department that I wouldn’t have without her. I have so much thanks to give this amazing human being. She is the reason why I have found a home at school. For these reason I’m extremely thankful for her. I guess my favorite memory with Mrs. Kazin is either during our bus trips or during practice. She teaches colorguard all of our choreography and moves. She is very funny and calm during all of the chaos. She makes everyone laugh when we are tired in the mornings and exhausted in the evenings. We were once practicing for our new show which I will not be able to reveal yet, but when doing it, we acted like cowards after showing a strong persona. She imitated us and we all laughed. It’s was a great morning to be in colorguard.

Allgaier – Out of all my teachers she’s the most fun to be and learn with. I’m not amazing at math but I can say for the first time ever I I’m enjoying a math course here which is something I never thought I would be able to say. One time we were about to take a quiz and she tricked us into thinking it was gonna be really bad but it ended up being pretty easy. I don’t remember a lot of detail because there are a lot of stories to share.

Knapik- I’m very thankful for Mr. Knapik because he’s a very selfless person and although at times he’s very sarcastic & funny, it’s always in his best interest to make sure everyone/everything is okay.  One time I was upset during class and we went back and forth making a drawing just so I could get my mind off of what was bothering me. It’s my favorite memory because without discussing what had upset me, it made me feel so much better and almost forget the issue at hand.

Pembroke- I’m thankful for Mr. Pembroke cause he helped me when I was struggling in his algebra class and helped me improve my math ability. My favorite memory was when I came after school to his class to catch up on some work he asked me, “what’s up with the hair style is that the new style kids are wearing these days?”.

Thomas & McArthur – Because Dr. Thomas kinda was an influence and was a big motivation when I was in his class. Mrs. McArthur just makes my day better and makes me more of a positive person. (Some of my favorites are) When Dr. Thomas gave me an EP sweater and when Mrs. McArthur when she took my picture for my self portrait project.

Shields, M- She’s very lovely and generous. She also encourages us to step out of our comfort zones and try our hardest. I can’t think of any specific favorite moments at the top of my head but I’m sure there’s lots.

English-  I’m thankful for the fun and entertaining environment he makes in math. My favorite is when mr English fell by backing up into a chair.

Vucsko-  She makes class fun and enjoyable while we are learning. she takes the time to get to know all the kids and understand them which makes going to school not that terrible. Whenever anyone is class asks her something unrelated to the topic, her response is always great.

Coach Verde and Fundukian- I’m thankful for having them as football coaches. They know how to teach the football team very well and I was proud to be part of the team and it was fun. I think they are some of the best coaches at EPCHS.

Smith, J- Mr. Smith has always inspired me and cultivated my love of math beyond the classroom. Sophomore year, I was at a chess meet and Mr. Smith wrote down a math paradox that still confuses me to this day!

Shields, L- Mrs. Shields is my favorite staff member because she always pushed me to do my best when running. She is always there for me and made sure I didn’t give up. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have loved my first year ever doing track so much. My favorite memory with Mrs. Shields is when we were at state and just always having a great time. Her bus was the best and we were all singing at the top of our lungs. She also chose me for sportsmanship award and made me feel so happy to be part of her team.

Mrs. Augustyn- I am very thankful for Ms.Augustyn because she was an awesome teacher. She was always willing to help with whatever I needed. She took into consideration other stuff going on in my life and helped me out a lot. She made the classroom fun and even now that I’m not her student anymore she still wants to know what I’m doing and how I’m doing. My favorite memory was on the last day of school she let me come into her room and play with the dry ice.  

Heenan- I am thankful for Mrs. Heenan because she is a great teacher and I absolutely love her class. My favorite memory of Mrs. Heenan is when our class sang the 12 days of Christmas just for fun!

Burns-  He really supports his students and cares for the well being of his class. He can easily relate to being a teenager like us and overall it makes it comfortable to be in his class for 80 minutes. He’s really just a chill guy.

Pietrusinski- I am thankful for Ms. P because she notices when students are struggling and she is eager to help us understand the material. She got us donuts at the beginning of the year.

Gryz- Last year when I had her as a teacher, she was just so sweet. She would make sure I was okay when I seemed down and she was always there for me and helped me whenever I needed it. I know that she would still help me if I ever needed it and I’m still grateful for that everyday. She has helped me become better at what I’m really passionate about. My favorite memory of Ms.Gryz would have to be whenever I go back to her classroom just to see how she’s doing because whenever I see her I know I can talk to her about anything and everything and that she’ll help me if I need whether it’s advice, schoolwork, my articles for newspaper, photography club, or literally anything.

Coach Burras- I’m thankful for coach Chris because he’s a really compassionate person, and helps you with any problem you have. if you want to rant or need help on homework or to bring up your grades he’s always there after school. And he’s always a fun person to talk to.  I remember my freshman year he made me and some students go up to the lrc and stand up and tell us why we or how we can succeed in school, some of the students he brought up got mad and just said something to get done but I was the only person to say something very true and it was the correct answer to what he was asking us, after that he was giving us a pep talk about school and how we can succeed. After that some of us did our work and brought our grades up.



Teacher/ Staff Responses:

I’m thankful for all of our support staff. They are all so efficient at what they do and make the non-teaching part of my job so much easier!


I’m thankful for our maintenance staff, for two main reasons. First, the day is always a little brighter when the floors are smiling back at you. Second, even after all these years, they don’t audibly groan when I come down and ask for something when they’re on a break! 🙂


Everyone at EP – the students, faculty, and administration do an excellent job of making people feel welcome. I’ve only been teaching here for a short time, but it seems like I’ve been here my entire career. Nearly every interaction I have had has been positive and inspiring. I feel very fortunate to be teaching here.  


Ben Nesler – Ben is one of the most helpful people at EPCHS. He is proactive when assessing others’ needs and is excellent at making me more successful in the classroom.  


Maria Hernandez- Maria always has a welcoming smile any time you see her. She brings a lightness and joy to the school that makes the school a much better place.


Terri Pool- Being the head of the union is often times a thankless job, but Terri represent the teachers extraordinarily and helps create a positive working and learning environment for all students and staff members.


Bill Sanderson- Leaders often have to make hard decisions, but Bill has done an amazing job of representing EPCHS and growing a positive and productive culture of education.  


I am thankful for Jimmy Smith. His role as the digital coach has helped elevate my class to the next level. Jimmy is always available to help, is very patient and is the epitome of “service with a smile.” Going “paper-less” I loved scantrons, but Jimmy opened up my eye to the ease of Mastery Manager and I can NEVER go back.


Terri Pool. She is strong and level headed. She helps me keep my head up and composure when I feel like everything is going wrong. She genuinely cares about morale in the school and how we can improve it.


Beth Spezia- I don’t think anyone understands the depth of her job and how well she handles it with what she is given.


Karen Hewitt- Karen cares deeply about our students and about making the LRC a warm and welcoming environment. Besides being my co-worker she is one of my dearest friends and confidants. 


Ree McDonald- She is the greatest friend and co-worker in the world. She makes me laugh every single day.