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HIGH LIFE : Teacher of Year Aspirant Keeps Standards High

October 27, 1989|DeANNE BRETZ | DeAnne Bretz is a senior at Kennedy High School, where she is co-editor of the student newspaper, The Shamrock, and president of the color guard unit

Wilhelmina Van Hunnick, a teacher at Kennedy High School, is a teacher in pursuit of excellence, one who tries to nurture the character of her students. As a result, she has gained the admiration of many. She was recently chosen as one of four Orange County teachers to compete for the statewide title of Teacher of the Year.

"I feel being chosen is a great honor, not only for me, but for all the teachers at Kennedy," said Van Hunnick, who has taught for 23 years.

The business teacher said she sets high standards, tries to provide a strong role model and reinforces a reverence for education, thus giving every one of her students--regardless of his or her ability--the opportunity to achieve goals.

"Every student can work to his or her ability and is not satisfied until his best is done," Van Hunnick said. "With all the programs for the GATE-identified (Gifted and Talented Education) and special education students, the 'average' students get lost in the shuffle."

Van Hunnick divides her school day between four computer application classes and one typing/word-processing class.

"She tries her hardest to help her students," said senior Allen Gipson, one of Van Hunnick's computer students. "She's helped me by setting up special computers since I'm in a wheelchair."

Van Hunnick also spends a lot of time with students outside the classroom. She advises the school's Future Business Leaders of America club, a student organization that stresses business skills and leadership.

"I attract average students through FBLA," she said. "Average kids as well as GATE students can excel and earn recognition."

Kennedy Principal Warren Stephenson said: "Willie is a very strong, hard-working individual. She cares about her students. She has an ability to make them work for her. They absorb her excitement and, in return, she gets positive results."

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