Mrs. Bechtum is a teacher here at Waukee High School, who teaches what most consider some of the hardest classes offered here. She teaches AP Physics and AP Chemistry, but she is not like any other teacher. On November 5th, Mrs. Bechtum won the Golden Apple Award, which is only given out once a month across all Iowa schools. Senior Kenzie Kroll, who was a former student of Mrs. Bechtum made the nomination. Kroll described her as, “Very energetic and happy all the time. She’s also really knowledgeable about all the topics we were learning, but she had a way of explaining topics in a way that we could understand.” When asked if there was a certain moment that made her want to nominate Mrs. Bechtum, she responded, “I don’t think there was one moment, I think it was just kind of everything put together and knowing that I wasn’t the only person that felt that way, and there were a ton of kids in the school who felt that way. And so just being able to give her the recognition that she deserves for being that way.” Mrs. Bechtum has made a huge impact on former and current students, as well as kids she has never had in class. Kroll stated, “students keep going back to her. So many teachers here are great and so many teachers here love to learn and kids love them, but it’s hard to find a classroom that’s as full as hers every single morning. There are kids that haven’t even had her, that go to her room just to hang out.”
November 5th started as a fairly normal day for most, except for the science classes. Principal Justmann sent out an email to the science teachers prior to the 5th. His email said that all science classes will be required to come to the auditorium to see a speaker in the science field. During first block, everyone came down and sat in their seats. WHO News and IMT Insurance were there, so people became confused as to what this had to do with science. A group of people who worked at IMT had a game set up, and they asked for a few volunteers. The game consisted of trivia questions about insurance. Once the game came to an end, everybody sat back down. One of the people who worked for IMT stood up at the podium and told the crowd that there was not a speaker. She began reading off of a sheet that seemed to be describing a teacher here at Waukee and another person pulled up a sign that had the words “Golden Apple” on it. Then the realization hit that one of Waukee’s science teachers would be winning the award. Mrs. Bechtum recalled, “I heard “skipping around the room”. Oh snap, I don’t know anybody else that skips around the room.” They said Mrs. Bechtum’s name, and as she was walking up, she was on the verge of tears. She came up to the podium and was at a loss for words. She said she felt wonderful,
“Just so much gratefulness and thankfulness and I just felt so much love all at once. It was just overwhelming. Then I instantly started shaking.”
It does not take much to be kind, but Mrs. Bechtum takes it even further. She is willing to make sure each and every one of her students learn and understand the hard material. Kroll added, “At the end of the day you would sit there in class and you feel like you didn’t do any work, not because you didn’t, but because the work that you did, she just made fun.” Mrs. Bechtum said that what stood out most to her after the awards were, “The whole part of being connected and feeling like a community. I feel like it’s a huge initiative that we’ve tried to implement this year as a staff. And just the importance of that and that if the students feel comfortable, and they feel excited, the learning will come a lot easier and more enjoyable, so I think going forward it’s to get to know the students and then together we can get to know the content.” She goes above and beyond to make sure her students are learning well and retaining the information, more so than any other teacher here at Waukee.
“At the end of the day you would sit there in class and you feel like you didn’t do any work, not because you didn’t, but because the work that you did, she just made fun.”