Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Brooke Walker reporting Most people would agree that teachers are very deserving of our thanks and appreciation. But for Jake Heidrich, teaching is more than just a job; it's a personal passion. Jake has dedicated himself to bettering the lives of his students in Bountiful, both in and out of the classroom.
A co-worker wanted to offer a special showing of gratitude, so we gave Jake Heidrich a High 5.
After watching Mr. H, as his students call him, at work inside the classroom, we noticed that his love for the kids is more than obvious. He works daily to put learning at their level, changing hearts and lives in the process.
It's clear to see Jake brings a fun energy into his special needs class at Tolman Elementary. But his co-worker Shanna Payne also observed a more lasting impression.
In a High 5 nomination to KSL, Shanna explained, "Jake Heidrich has literally changed the lives of each one of his students. The majority of the students have been diagnosed with autism. These kids require so much attention and love, and Jake is the person who gives them all that and more. He has a special way of finding his way into these kids' hearts and helping them find their talents and want to become better."
We surprised Mr. H with a High 5 at school. "Ms. Payne, otherwise known as Shanna, nominated you. In her nomination she described you as a full-time cheerleader, counselor, teacher, and most of all a best friend to these kids," we told him.
Shanna said, "He is phenomenal. He teaches his students that it is OK to be different, and they have so many fun personalities, and they are so great. He just shows them that they can change the world, one person at a time."
Jake said, "I love teaching because it is a challenge for me. I believe these students can do well, regardless of what challenges they have. This is what I've devoted my life to, is students, and students who have challenges."
Tolman Elementary Principal David Pendergast said, "He really is a great team player. He helps us pull our special education team together. He helps with all of our severe discipline. [He's] a very willing, able, and energetic teacher. [He's] willing to do anything he is asked for the best interest of the kids."
"This is something you absolutely have to love to do. You have to love the kids," Jake said. "And that's what I love to do."
If you have someone you would like to nominate for a High 5, see the link on this page.