Each year, Lutheran High School honors one of its amazing teachers to show appreciation, respect, and praise of a teacher who has gone above and beyond for his/her students by naming them “Teacher of the Year.” Students and faculty vote for the recipient of this honor. The 2016-17 Teacher of the Year for Lutheran High School is Miss Monica Wagner. Miss Wagner began teaching at LHS in 1999. Her last full semester of teaching was in the Fall of 2016, after which, she fell ill to neuroendocrine cancer. She lost her battle in March 2017. Students, faculty, staff, and friends wanted to honor her service to the school in a variety of ways. Kimmie Kuehr (Class of 2017) wrote the following tribute to her beloved teacher:
“I wish I could explain in words just how amazing she was but there are truly no words. I had Ms. Wagner all four years of my high school life including this year. I had her as a teacher, a Pinterest Activity Period leader, leader of Prom Committee, and coach of Spell-Bowl. I enjoyed every single second I had with her. She was very bold in the way she lived. I remember her always talking about her and her mother making Goodwill trips at the beginning of each month. She could go in and find amazing jewelry and she would wear it the next day at school. I loved hearing her stories about her cat and seeing all her memes of cats and everything else that she enjoyed. She was the most caring and loving individual. She was an honest person, who, even if you didn’t want to hear it, she was going to tell you the truth and tell it to you straight. She would be there after school to make sure anyone who needed help (in school or in life) could get it. She was someone who devoted her entire life to the well being of students – the growth and development of their skills, and the strengthening of their faith. It’s quite amazing to have someone who works day-in and day-out every single day tirelessly for others! I’ll be the first to tell you that we high school students aren’t always a joy. Miss Wagner would always handle us with so much grace and patience. She understood that we were teenagers, but also would always help guide us in the right direction. She was heavily influential in many students’ lives when they had family issues or life issues. She always let them know that they were loved; not only the Lutheran School and herself, but also by God. She would put God at the top of her priorities and she knew Whom her Redeemer was. She would always start class with an “energizer” devotion and a Jeopardy question. She loved trivia and knew so many of the answers because she just had so much knowledge about life and everything that went along with it.
Not only was she a follower of Christ, but she also was well traveled and had many stories to tell. We loved to hear about her trips to London and other parts of Europe. She would teach us words in German from when she was a German language teacher. Ms. Wagner was a loving, caring, strong woman who would do anything for her students. Her legacy at this school is one that cannot be matched and one that will never be forgotten. I was blessed to be able to have her as my teacher all fours years and thankful to God for putting her in my life.
So to end as Ms. Wagner would…
“I can do all things through CHRIST who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13