The following is a letter composed by 2010 CHS graduate, Corinne Gould. It was written as part of an assignment for her Leadership class at Gonzaga University, about her “personal leader,” Ruth Cruz.
So often teachers such as Mrs. Cruz who truly make a difference in the lives of their students are not fortunate enough to be made aware of their inspiring gifts and the meaningful ways in which their dedication to their craft and their students absolutely changes lives.
Thankfully Corinne has taken the time to share of her deep admiration and gratitude for her teacher, and in doing so allows each of us to be aware of this gift as well.
Sept. 6th 2012
“I was homeschooled until I entered the local middle school in the 6th grade. I didn’t have many friends, I didn’t know what to wear, and my vocabulary was very different than the people around me. I felt the overwhelming need to prove that I was good enough to be liked and accepted by my teachers and peers.
“As in any transition, I felt the pain of culture shock and exclusion. At this crucial age, my interactions were paving the way for my future understanding of confidence, femininity, and even sexuality. For this reason, I recognize the profound impact that my science teacher, Ruth Cruz, has had on my development. Through her leadership and compassion, I was given permission to be a brave and intelligent woman.
“While the overpowering pressure of our new bodies and first tubes of mascara supported a flirtatious and vapid culture of cookie-cutter girls, Mrs. Cruz stood in opposition.
“In three years, she taught me about scientific method, geology, anatomy, plant and animal biology, and chemistry. Most importantly, however, Mrs. Cruz taught me that being observant and purposeful was more valuable than having straight hair and a little skirt.
“She led by example, offered encouragement, and provided endless opportunities for her students to break out of the expectation to fit in. She asked us to stand out with our talents, hard work, intelligence and passion. Mrs. Cruz held us to elevated expectations that were tailored to each individual student and capability.
“Because of her dedication and faith in us, we were all able to achieve in ways we never conceived were possible.
“At the end of my 8th grade year, Mrs. Cruz recognized me as one of the two outstanding students of the program. She helped me explore and develop my own values and goals in a time when young girls can easily get lost. I owe my scientific curiosity, intellectual confidence, and appetite for knowledge to Mrs. Cruz and her heart-felt leadership.”