Dan Southard is a Vietnam Veteran and teacher of US Constitution at Buena High School. Southard is a well liked by the seniors he teaches, mostly for his cool war stories and being a horny old man. He is however, one of the best teachers I’ve had. I wrote the following essay for a scholarship application. Most of it is true but there is the obligatory ass kissing.

These days it is popular among politicians to attack the American public education system, saying it is weak and ineffective. After 12 years in the public school system, I know nether of these accusations are true to students the system serves. Not only do I have a fundamental base of education, but I have also learned valuable life skills from teachers that have become important role models to me. One teacher, Dan Southard, has taught me a lesson that will be with me for the rest of my life.

Mr. Southard is a Vietnam veteran who instilled in me the importance of both discipline and non-conformity. These two attributes may appear to be at odds with each other, but I have learned that for either to be effective they must go hand in hand. Mr. Southard, like me, has a strong sense of non-conformity, we have a tendency to look at things and ask “why?” The stereotypical rebellious teen in me identified with this, but discipline had always escaped me. Through actions more than words, Mr. Southard showed me discipline in everything I do is necessary to becoming a successful adult. In his US Constitution class, I learned not only the required curriculum, but I also learned how to channel my ambition towards goals I believe in.

Gone are my juvenile days when I saw my teachers as enemies. Today I know that my teachers are among my greatest allies I will ever have. I know that life lessons only can truly become apparent in hindsight, but I anticipate that the lessons I learned from Dan Southard will have a strong influence in my life. Like all good role models, he acts merely as himself, and this unassuming personality has qualities that students admire and strive to emulate.

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