LEE educator honored with Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award
Gretchen Wickes has been teaching, encouraging and inspiring students at LEE High School for the last 11 years. Her students and colleagues are all quick to describe the impact she’s had on the lives of each and every person who walks into her classroom. Wickes is truly beloved at LEE, and that makes her Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award even sweeter.
Students, family, North East ISD administrators, Principal David Crowe and Texas State Representative Diego Bernal squeezed into a crowded classroom overflowing with love and admiration for Wickes. She says she chooses to share her life, and this recognition, with the students who keep her coming back to LEE year after year.
“There are so many days I’m rushing, trying to get stuff together, making copies and am nervous about the things that have to happen,” said Wickes. “All that changes when the doors open and my students walk in and I remember, ‘oh this is who I’m spending my day with.’ The only way I can accept this award is by recognizing that it’s really a reflection on my wonderful, amazing students and the colleagues that I work with every day.”
Humanities Texas issues just 15 Outstanding Teaching Awards across the state each year. Wickes was recognized from a pool of more than 700 nominees. As part of the recognition, she received $5,000 and LEE received $500 to spend on instructional materials. Principal David Crowe says that money will go right back to Wickes’ classroom.
Wickes teaches Economics and World History to students at LEE; Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) Academy; and North East School of the Arts (NESA).
She has played a vital role in crafting countless teens over the years and watching her students grow into confident, driven adults make it all worthwhile.
“It’s amazing to watch you blossom and watch you come to understand the talents that you have and the gifts that you have and to see you think about how you’re going to impact our world,” said Wickes. “To be able to help walk you through that is amazing. That’s the joy and the blessing of this job.”