As I write, I'm making up all my finals. I will be at the National Speech Tournament during finals week, so I'm finishing my classes up now. The fact that my teachers have accommodated my situation is just one example of how West Linn High School has such terrific men and women educating us.

This is my final column for the Tidings this school year. As my junior year winds down, I feel I must show my gratitude for the people who helped me grow and succeed over these past nine months. Here is an (incomplete) list of the people in our community who deserve our thanks for their service, effort and love.

Ms. Martin, thank you for teaching AP government. I now comprehensively understand American politics. Your fun-loving approach to education made everything so much easier to grasp. You are just as wonderful as I remember you being when you taught sixth-grade social studies.

Ms. Breyne, thank you for advising the Amplifier. Your guidance as we transitioned from print to online was invaluable. I cannot thank you enough for choosing me to be one of the editors-in-chief next year. I will make you proud.

Ms. Harris, thank you for teaching AP calculus. You made higher-level math much less intimidating than I expected. Thank you for teaching me that if I don't get all the answers right, I can still succeed. I'm more secure about myself and my math skills because of you.

Mr. Kellogg, thank you for teaching Honors Law A. Thank you for helping me better understand our justice system and improve my speech and debate skills. I am going to nationals because you, and the whole mock trial team helped me grow.

Ms. Kaiser, thank you for teaching creative writing. I needed a class that reinforced how to use words as art. You unleashed and reinvigorated my love of fiction and poetry. Thank you for making me a more versatile writer and thinker.

Ms. Raivio, thank you for teaching Honors English. I'm proud to call myself a transcendentalist because we read Thoreau; I'm proud to continue calling myself a socialist because we read Steinbeck. Because of you, my perception of America and Earth has changed for the better.

Mr. McDevitt, thank you for teaching physics. Your eternal friendliness and passion for physics has made you one of my favorite teachers. Thank you for blowing my mind - just like a science teacher is supposed to!

Counselors and administrators, thank you for your constant support of everybody's educational experience. Without your dedication to our school's success, I wouldn't have had many of the opportunities that shaped me this year. Thank you for administering the best education I could ever have.

Ms. DeCosta and Ms. Hall, of the West Linn Tidings, thank you for allowing me to write this column every month. My writing skills have improved so much because I have this outlet that our community can see.

West Linn, thank you for reading my works. I hope you have enjoyed my thoughts and ramblings; there's more to come if you go to once the school year starts up again.

Next year will bring new classes, new challenges and new epiphanies. Because of what I learned junior year, I am ready for next year's promise. And a year from now, I'll be thanking new teachers for new insights I had during a fantastic senior year.

Elise Brown is a junior at West Linn High School.

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