By Trevor Andrews, Reporter
The Principal of the Business and Communication Academy, Nathan Helzer, has entered his first year at GISH.
“Having the communication skill, and having that understanding of how to communicate in different ways is also important,” said Helzer.
Helzer said that before becoming a principal at GISH, he was a music teacher at a couple of other schools.
Helzer said that he heard from the previous principal Fawn Gernstein that the teachers and students in the Business and Communication Academy were great.
“I love GISH because it is a representation of what Grand Island is,” Helzer said.
He added that Grand Island has a “diverse community that has a lot of strengths.”
Helzer said that he had a great principal at Barr Middle School.
“He was really good at mentoring me, and helping me see what was possible,” he added.
As a high school student Helzer described himself as a nerd who wanted to do well in school.
“I want students to feel supported and I want them to feel like they’re the reason we are here. When they walk into a classroom or an office I want them to know that they’re my focus and my choices and actions are going to be around to make their experiences better,” Helzer said.
John Adams, a World History teacher, who is experiencing his first year at GISH, said that he teaches history by telling stories.
He said, “A lot of people see Social Studies as names and dates, and history is so much more than that.”
He said that one example of a story in history was Adolf Hitler getting rejected from art school, which set off a path that led to a “reign of terror.”
“Some teachers are great at what they do, some are less so. My job is to be the best at what I do,” Adams said.
Adams said that he loved speaking with his students and hearing their stories.
“We all have stories, there’s a reason we are doing what we do,” he said.
Adams said that he likes his Sophomore students because they are people who want to strive to do good.
His biggest surprise about GISH was the fire alarm, Adams said.
Before GISH he had taught in South Dakota, Colorado, and Utah. He decided to work at GISH when his wife’s parents, who lived in Lincoln, began to “go downhill physically.”
Adams said that as a high schooler he was an introvert who hid behind his humor.
“I was the smart aleck who always knew the right answer because I was a little bit of a nerd, but never did any of the work. I felt like I was too smart for the work and I wish I hadn’t done that,” he said.
Adams added that he hopes he can show students that they can do anything if they want to.
Heather Caspersen, a Family and Consumer Science teacher is now entering her first year here at GISH.
Caspersen said that she teaches Performance and Nutrition, Internal Law and Public Safety, and Intro to Education.
“I have always been intrigued by career pathways, and I always had a goal to possibly teach methods courses in college. This is the closest thing to that as far as the introductory courses,” she said.
Caspersen added that performance nutrition has always been a passion of hers.
She said that when she was in high school she had a P.E teacher who inspired her to become a teacher.
“So far I’ve been pretty impressed with GISH. I love the diversity and I love the students here. The staff are really great and I like the courses offered for the students,” Caspersen said.
She said that she had taught fifth grade, cooking, nutrition, and health at Barr Middle School.
“I was ready for a charge. I had taught ten years in elementary, about ten years in middle school, and I have just always had a longing to be at a high school,” Caspersen said.
Caspersen said that she was excited about beginning to teach at GISH and to experience a new challenge.
“I just want to make sure I’m the type of teacher that they feel comfortable with and that they feel safe with. I think being young is hard and being a high schooler is hard,” Caspersen said, “I just want to be the type of teacher that kids can feel they can talk to, and I just want to help them through this journey in high school.”