Featured Teacher: Mrs. Hendrickx from Bowman

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 7:29 AM CST
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BOWMAN, N.D. (KFYR) - Just about every day is a celebration at Bowman County School. Every student gets their chance to shine.

It’s all thanks to 4th grade teacher Jolene Hendrickx, who believes a simple act of kindness can go a long way.

She’s our Featured Teacher this week because of the time she spends featuring others.

Hands shoot up during Mrs. Hendrickx’s classroom reading period like sprouts shooting out of the ground. This lesson is where she gets to see the fruits of her labor.

“This chapter that we read today was probably the best chapter of the whole book. So even yesterday I said, ‘you have to come back to school because this is what we’re going to find out today,’” Mrs. Hendrickx explains.

It’s part of a trick she’s learned over 28 (or so) years of teaching.

“I think you have to plant those seeds.”

The seeds she’s talking about are little kernels of curiosity, excitement or joy.

“They were ready to read when they got back here this morning,” she said with a smile.

That’s how she does it. That’s how she’s teaching these students not only to read and write well, but to spread kindness.

Walk the halls of Bowman County Elementary, Middle and High School and you’ll see their kindness spread.

“It makes me kinda feel happy because I can spread kindness and it makes my day,” Savaya Heckame, a 4th grade student, said.

The birthday cards displayed on lockers come from Mrs. Hendrickx’s room. She keeps a list of birthdays, and even half birthdays, for every pre-K through 12th grade student and staff members.

“I just made one and we draw and put happy birthday on there,” Ella Henderson, a 4th grade student, said.

Over the last few years, it’s become much more than a project. It’s a seed.

“I have even had third graders tell me that they can’t wait to come in here to get their birthday card,” Mrs. Hendrickx said.

It’s a small act to grow their community and their characters.

“I want them to come in here and enjoy their day, to be safe and to pay it forward and to be kind,” she said.

When it’s Mrs. Hendrickx’s birthday, she says no special gifts are allowed. Instead, she takes the opportunity to encourage people to donate to a charity and keep that lesson going of how to pay it forward for others.

To nominate a teacher for the next Featured Teacher segment, send Hope an email to hope.sisk@kfyrtv.com.