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During the final morning meeting of the 2018-19 school year, the University High School community took a few minutes to pay tribute to the four faculty and staff members who are leaving us after this year.

Each was called to the stage by one of their current mentees, and mentees said a few words about their mentor’s impact on their lives and on University High School.

Read those remarks below.

Collin Lawrence, History Instructor

“Mr. Lawrence has been my mentor all four years I’ve been at University, and he’s a great guy. He seems quiet at first, but once you get to know him, man his personality is just popping. The man is the greatest guy ever. He’s so patient to deal with me for four years, obviously. But he’s just an all-around great guy, and I’m going to miss him. I know a lot of faculty are going to miss him. I know a lot of students are going to miss him. So, thank you.” – Michael Bounsall (’19)

Kirstin Northenscold, Director of Teaching & Learning, English Instructor

“I shadowed at University in my sophomore year. I was really nervous about the idea of moving and starting at a new school, but after meeting and talking with Kirstin, I knew that the school could be a comfortable place for me. And I was relieved that my mentor was going to be someone that I already felt so close to. Kirstin’s been my go-to since I got here, and I know that she’s done the same for so many other people. She’s left a lasting impression on all of her students through her daily interactions — staying after school until 6 p.m., editing our college essays, taking time out of her lunch to listen to whatever you need to talk about, or giving you ice cream after an AP exam.

“A really meaningful thing that Kirstin does every winter for her mentees is pick out a different book for each of them. This year she gave me Becoming by Michelle Obama. There’s a quote from there that I want to share with you: ‘For me becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it, instead, as a forward motion, a mean of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self.’ This quote rings true to Kristin, as that is exactly what she is doing by going back to school. When she first told me she was going to get her doctorate, I asked her what she was after, what job she wanted that degree for. She told me she wasn’t sure, and if she found herself teaching high school again, that was okay. She just knew that this was a part of her she needed to explore more. That sums up Kristin’s mentality and outlook on life. She’s always pushed me, her other mentees, and other students to continuously improve and expand our perspectives. And her going back to school is a display of her taking her own advice that she’s given us and continuously reaching toward her better self. We’re all going to miss you so much, Kirstin, but we’re really excited to see everything you do in your life.” – Anna Armato (’19)

Kris Schepers, Athletic Trainer

“Kris Schepers, or ‘Mama Kris’ as most of us call her, is not just the athletic trainer we went to when we got injured. She’s the mother and friend we always could talk to after school. Even before I started at University as a freshman, I knew who Kris was, and she knew who I was. I was a third grader when my brother started school at University, and ever since I have known the wonderful person that is Kris Shepers.

“If you’ve ever been to the training room, you know that it gets a little rowdy back there, but you know how quickly Kris will take control and make sure everyone’s getting the care that they need. Although students get injured from time to time, most of the time people just want to go back there and spend time with her and hang out with her. Kris is always there to help get athletes back to playing, and she encourages us not only to work as hard as possible to return faster to the field or the court, but also to do well in the classroom. She offers advice and support in and out of sports. She’s always looking out for us and our best interest, and she wants us to succeed to our highest potential. Students, teachers, and even family members could go see Kris trying to figure out what’s happening with an injury or just to talk to her about life. My brother and I both helped her as student athletic trainers. Although this might have just been getting ice or helping talk to different people about getting the game set up, I knew that once the game got started, I would learn something new, whether about athletic training or something about life in general. Kris also was a valuable asset each and every year in the dugout for softball, being our biggest supporter in the cold and the rain, bringing us candy, and doing whatever she could to cheer us up when Indiana didn’t give us the best weather. Thank you, Kris, for being our mom, for being our friend, and for helping us get back onto the court in the different sports that we play.” – Lillian Klemsz (’19)

Derek Thomas, English Instructor

“Everybody at University cares for you, but there are some who really care more, and Derek Thomas is one of those. I was fortunate to get Mr. Thomas as a mentor, and I remember early on knowing this was the right guy for me. In my Language & Literature class, he told the story of when he jumped down four stairs and broke his leg. My first thought was, “How do you break your leg jumping down four stairs?” But I also realized this would be a fun experience with him. In the last two years, he’s helped me with everything I needed, he taught me to be a better student and person, and he’s set me up for what I need for college. I thank him for that. They do say “You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” so I guess the English department will probably be getting a little better next year, but the University community will surely miss him. We thank you, and we wish you the best of luck for the future.” – Ben Ewer (’21)