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Telling Our Story-Rebecca Williams

I attended Henderson County Schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. I attended Bend Gate from kindergarten through third grade, East Heights for fourth and fifth grades, North Middle School, and HCHS. I graduated from HCHS in 2013. One of my favorite memories from school was in fourth grade. I was starting a new school and Mrs. Rowe immediately made me feel like I belonged there. My first best friend at my new school was a student named Jon, who had Down syndrome. We spent a lot of time together at school and outside of school. Mrs. Rowe made sure to make it possible for us to work together as much as possible. Jon moved away in fifth grade, but we stayed in touch. Little did I know, those moments in fourth and fifth grades were defining moments for my future career as a special education teacher. Jon and I still stay in contact, and that friendship is a constant reminder of how thankful I am for Mrs. Rowe and my time at East Heights.

What aspects of your public education helped mold you into the person you are today?
The teachers that I had throughout my school career molded me into who I am today. I would not be the teacher that I am today if it weren't for the impact of my teachers, especially Kerri Rowe, Sherry (Houck) Dawson, and Andrea Dickens. These teachers believed in me, pushed me to my full potential, and encouraged me to persevere through the most difficult circumstances.

When you think back on your experience in public school, are there specific instances or relationships that stand out to you as having had a significant impact on your success since graduating?
Andrea Dickens is one of many teachers who has had a lasting impact on my success as a teacher. I was a peer tutor in her class during my senior year. It was in that class that I officially decided that I wanted to be a special education teacher. When I would come home from school during my senior year, my mom would ask about the best parts of my day, and I would always talk for a long time about what I did in Mrs. Dickens' class and how much I enjoyed it. Andrea and I became good friends after I graduated. I reached out to her all the time when I was in college and needed help with my assignments. When I got married in 2017, Andrea was my matron of honor. We shared a classroom during my first year of teaching, and I don't think I could have made it through my first year without her. Now, I am in my fourth year of teaching and I've landed my dream job at the high school, continuing to work alongside Andrea.

Henderson County School has made me the person and the teacher that I am today. I have had several teachers who have shaped me to be who I am and I would not be as successful as I am without their influence. As a public educator, I hope that I can provide those same opportunities and experiences for the next generation, encouraging them to continue to pour back into the Henderson community in the future.

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