The Cherry on Top: Joan Heap

BY HAILEY MINTON

“Joan Heap changed my life,” said Andrea Robinson. “She was my English teacher in 8th grade, and [for] the way she worked with me and encouraged me, I’ll be forever grateful.” Linden Puzey Kendall said. “She’s inspirational and deserving of such an achievement and more!” Shanna Campbell said, “She inspired not just students but fellow teachers.” Joan Heap finished her teaching career at North Ogden Junior High and received the Utah Teacher of the Year award in 2006. She stated that her impact as a teacher was greatly influenced by the other teachers around her. She said their team at North Ogden was very conscientious about preparing students for high school and college. She also saw English literature as an excellent segue into bringing life lessons to her students.

She recalled an experience when one student who came in for reading time claimed she didn’t like reading. Joan went to her book shelf, picked out a book, and asked the girl to dedicate the full 15 minutes of reading time to the book. After that time had passed, the girl looked up and said she was taking the book home with her. The next day, she popped into Joan’s classroom to say she had read over 100 pages of the book the previous night. That book then cycled through the girl’s friends and never made its way back to Joan’s classroom. It has been the small experiences like that, of helping students one by one, which have culminated into the overall impact Joan has left on her students. She tried to help students realize their potential, set their own course, and make their own path, despite the adversities students faced. Thank you for your contributions to our community, Joan!

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