Retiring After 39 Years, Teacher Receives Golden Apple
INDIANOLA, Iowa — A well – known Indianola High School teacher is set to retire at the end of the year.
“I remember when I started education. One of the first things I said was I wanted to make a difference. So this award validates to me that I made a difference,” said Liz Clark.
After 39 years in education, she will retire from teaching at Indianola High School. Clark assists students who are considered “at – risk” for graduating on time.
Clark said it can be a challenge to motivate students to improve their academic performance but said it comes with great reward. Joe Dawson is one of Clark’s 50 “at – risk” students. He attributes his success in school to the help of Clark.
“She could be one of the hardest teachers you`ve ever had but if it wasn`t for her I probably wouldn`t be here. I probably would have dropped out. My freshman year I had a GPA of .38,” said Dawson.
This is Dawson’s senior year. Now he is on track to graduate a year early.
Clark said many of her students may have difficult home life situations that cause them to struggle in school but she often tells them “life happens and you have to be ready for life.” Clark speaks from her own life experience. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997.
“During the chemotherapy and radiation, I missed nine days of school that year because I had decided it was not going to beat me and get me down,” said Clark.
A testament to her students, they can get through anything if they put their minds to it.
“When they need to hear that story I tell them, you just know when they need to get a personal story from you.”
Clark is also the high school’s girls dance coach.