The Ottumwa Courier


April 9, 2013

Teacher never gives up on students facing challenges


“She’s really good,” Pedersen said. “She captures their hearts and then, later on, worries about their minds.”

So when a student’s father died, she attended the funeral. To offer support, she took the student’s classmates, too. She cares enough to pop up in unexpected places, like the hospital, when a kid is in need. None of her students, regardless of family income, will be shoeless or without a winter coat.

She once received a call at 2 a.m. from a student who needed a ride. She went and got them.

“Whatever they need,” she said, “it’s like they have an extra grandmother. That’s the only thing I do differently.”

Yet, when she broke her hip, her mother had to drive her to school. Four of her boys ran out to carry her walker and lift her wheelchair out of the car.

“These are supposed to be the ornery kids, the ‘bad’ kids,” she said. “I haven’t had a bad kid yet.”

“She never gives up on them,” Pedersen said. “When the parents don’t know who to turn to, they turn to Heidi. Her cell phone is on 24 hours.”

He said she is big reason why Cardinal High School just “celebrated our best graduation rate in school history. She acts as a safety net for our students. She is living proof of the power of building relationships with kids.”

Much of the success lately in Eldon has been because of the staff, Pedersen has said, adding that this teacher is a great example of that caring nature.

“I can give them a new strategy to teach reading,” he said about applicants for education jobs. “I can’t give them what Heidi has.”



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