With the busy lives kids lead these days, many teachers know the suggestions they give on a daily basis are taken with a grain of salt. Independence history teacher Michelle Zachrich is no different.
Even so, she tries to make her honors U.S. history class as fun and engaging as possible. Each year her students create interactive notebooks and use glue sticks to constantly update them throughout the semester. But, inevitably, by the end of the year, the glue sticks are gone.
“I always joke because the kids come in with glue sticks at the beginning of the year and then they lose them or they run out and I’m always going out and buying more,” Zachrich said. “I always say ‘OK, when you make it big, I just want glue sticks.’ Just send me a case of glue sticks, I need them and that will be a drop in the bucket for you when you’re famous.”
Last week, Independence technology coordinator Josh Kranish, who is also an assistant coach on the Patriots’ football team, came into Zachrich’s class. She figured something was broken with her classroom’s equipment, but then she saw the hulking presence of DeVonte Holloman standing in the doorway.
Holloman, one of Zachrich’s former honors’ students, had made a name for himself since leaving Independence. He was recruited to play linebacker out of high school and chose to attend the University of South Carolina before being drafted in the sixth round of the 2103 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, where he’s contributing this season.
But he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.
“I was shocked when I saw him and forgot about the glue sticks,” Zachrich said. “When he handed them to me I just started laughing, I couldn’t believe he remembered.”
Holloman said it was something he had always planned on doing.
“She respected us as young adults. She always found a way to engage us and make it fun for us in her class,” Holloman said of Zachrich’s class. “It was just always something I wanted to do.”
“It felt good to be home. I spent a good portion of my life there and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t go there and meet those people, those teachers. It had a huge effect on my life. It was good to be home and see my old stomping grounds.”
And, for Zachrich, it was neat to see a former student, who has already done so much, remember her advice.
“DeVonte used to laugh all the time, but I’d always ask him when he went pro to bring me in some glue sticks,” Zachrich said. “One (of the students in Holloman’s honors class) is in pre-med, one’s in law school. It was a very successful class that he was in. It was great to see him being so happy. He’s so gracious, he took all honors classes and it was great to have a student who succeeded academically and in other areas.
“As a teacher I get excited to see kids when they’re successful, they’re excited and they’re happy and that was one of those moments. It was special.”