STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.
Stockbridge is a village similar to many places around the state. The economy is tough, industry has gone, and the school system is one of few ways kids from the town can get a leg up. This is an inside look into this small town school district trying to make sure their kids have educational opportunity, even in the face of shrinking state aid and a tough economy. In addition to Sarah's reports, the Stockbridge project has moving and interesting radio stories, audio diaries, and photography from youth journalists at Stockbridge High School.

Stockbridge Youth Journalists: Teachers make a difference

If I attended a large school like Ann Arbor Pioneer, I don't think I would have reached the all “A” honor roll. I wouldn’t have had the chance to build strong relationships with all of my educators. If I attended a really big school, the environment wouldn’t have allowed me to succeed.

I attend Stockbridge High School, a school with great teacher-student relationships which allow students the unique opportunity to grow as learners and individuals.

When I entered my freshman year at Stockbridge, I believed it unlikely I would develop strong bonds with my teachers.

Instead, I thought my teachers would teach the lesson and escape to their desks. I was proven wrong though, in particular by a teacher by the name of Jennifer Leuenberg. After taking three courses with Mrs. Leuenberg, I feel as if she is a third sister, another aunt, or a second mother.

When she isn’t teaching a class, she often spends her time in her classroom helping students who congregate to her room during lunch. These students aren’t often always the teacher pet kind either, they are both the poor learners and advanced students.

Because of Mrs. Leuenberg’s lively teaching style and devotion to her students and myself, I was able to achieve a better understanding of material covered. Because of the relationship that formed, I felt comfortable asking questions in class, seeking homework help, and I became more engaged in lessons and class discussions. All of these things helped me and many other students get high marks on our report cards.