A Tribute to Mr. Clifford
There are professions that touch people in many different ways, but there is one profession that is unique in the way it leaves lasting impressions on the lives of each and every one of us. Being born and raised in a family of educators, I feel that no teacher should be taken for granted. This article is a dedication to Mr. Clifford, whose final year with the UHS community is coming to a close.
It’s hard to say goodbye, and we will all miss seeing Mr. Clifford at school every day, but for those of us who were students of Mr. Clifford, we will forever hold dear to our hearts the image of a teacher constantly fueled by the mission of not only educating us, but preparing us for the road ahead. I personally will remember Mr. Clifford as an outstanding instructor. It was obvious from the first lecture that he has mastered his subject, and infused his enthusiasm into his students so that our learning experience became thoroughly enjoyable. For a subject like history that can be potentially monotonous and grueling, that level of energy is immensely hard to achieve.
For many of us, Mr. Clifford is a true teacher in and out of the classroom. He taught us to be productive and responsible, to be independent, and to be our own people. In an environment so often characterized by peer pressure, this message is crucial to our survival not only in high school, but in our lives in general. He showed us that it’s okay to say something different, as long as we can justify it in a respectful, careful manner. He taught us how to be individuals, in the true sense of the word.
Personally, I feel so very blessed to have had the honor of being taught by this great man. This was my first year at University High, and having transferred from a much smaller school, I was nervous. I wondered if I could connect with the teachers as well as my peers, since they had all been here for a year more than me. I wondered if because there were so many students, the teachers would be able to bond with me and really get to know me. AP European History was my very first class at UHS. I had already heard floods of praise for the AP Euro teacher from my UHS friends, but I didn’t know that Mr. Clifford was that, well, cool! He made us feel welcome and at ease from day one, keeping us on a healthy level of confidence to help us get through the year. We all value the time he spent on various discussions with us, which helped us find out who we really are and be confident with ourselves.
For the current and future UHS penguins who will not have the privilege of being taught by Mr. Clifford, I can only hope that they will get to know and truly appreciate someone as special as him in their lifetime. For those of us who were taught by him, I’m sure he has left a permanent mark in our memories.
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