Helping students create their own paths

Fashion design teacher Valerie Nite is awarded Killough's Teacher of the Year

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Helping students create their own paths

Fashion and interior design teacher Valerie Nite proudly displays her 2018-2019 Killough Teacher of the Year award.

Fashion and interior design teacher Valerie Nite proudly displays her 2018-2019 Killough Teacher of the Year award.

Anna Velazquez

Fashion and interior design teacher Valerie Nite proudly displays her 2018-2019 Killough Teacher of the Year award.

Anna Velazquez

Anna Velazquez

Fashion and interior design teacher Valerie Nite proudly displays her 2018-2019 Killough Teacher of the Year award.

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The entire gym is silent as everyone scoots to the edge of their seats. The anticipation and excitement of everyone watching is increases with each second passing. Killough Principal Pamela Flores taps the microphone twice and takes a deep breath. As soon as the name is announced the room erupts with claps, whistles and cheers.

Fashion and interior design teacher Valerie Nite was awarded Killough’s Teacher of the Year on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. Nite was surprised to have obtained this award as it is only her second year teaching at Killough.

“I was so shocked and I felt a little bit embarrassed because there was a lot of people there,” Nite said. “There’s a lot of people that have been here for years and nominated multiple times; the people that I was nominated with are very deserving and we all do great things.”

The feeling of being the center of attention caused Nite to feel quite nervous when she was asked to walk to the center of the gym to receive her award. At that moment, her emotions were all over the place, intensyfying when she saw her parents, sister, husband and kids walk up to her with roses and smiles on their faces.

“When I saw [my family] I became much more emotional because they’re the people that I shared the hard parts with,” Nite said. “Teaching is really hard some days. It can be extremely fun, but it can get very tiring so knowing that those people have seen the bad parts, it’s just really special.”

Sophomore Miguel Herrera has enjoyed being a part of Nite’s fashion design class for the past two years and was incredibly proud of Nite for being awarded Teacher of the Year. because he has experienced what her class is like and all the work she puts into making her classroom a comfortable environment.

“She’s such an amazing teacher and hard worker,” Herrera said. “She deserves to have all her work recognized. She’s your teacher but at the same time she’s a friend and someone you can confide in. She really makes an effort to make her classroom feel like a safe place for everyone.”

Although Nite feels honored to be awarded Teacher of the Year, she feels added pressure to continue meeting her coworker’s expectations. A larger amount of people know who she is now and that thought has put a lot of weight on her shoulders. She hopes to continue on the same path that she was on previous to being awarded.

You have the choice to make your life whatever you want it to be.”

— Valerie Nite

“I came in last year with the same work ethic that I have today,” Nite said. “[Receiving the award is] very humbling and I’m very excited by it. I hope I get to know more people through it now that I get to see a lot more people, but I think that I’m going to keep going the way I was because I think it was working.”

Nite’s close friend and special education teacher Kate Mueller admires how Nite takes it upon herself to ensure every student feels important in her class.

Mrs. Nite would be Teacher of the Year whether [the staff] chose her or not,” Mueller said.  “It’s not the title that makes her a champion of student education, but her commitment to celebrating that individual spark of creativity glowing in the belly of every student.

Nite hopes that every student who has her as a teacher leaves with the knowledge that they don’t have to chose “traditional” career paths. Her ultimate goal is to teach students about the wide variety of careers available and show them it is possible to have a career in these fields.

“Life is much more than the subjects you take in school,” Nite said. “You have the choice to make your life whatever you want it to be. If I can come in and inspire [students] through fashion and then that inspires [them] to do something else in your community, then I’m proud to be a part of that.”

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