By: Dr. Matt Smith, Contributing Writer
I would like to begin tonight by recognizing a special award recipient.
Each year, Centralia High School recognizes one of our many outstanding professionals as our “Educator of the Year”. I am excited to honor Mrs. Jennifer Ludwig as the 2021-22 Centralia High School Educator of the Year.
Mrs. Ludwig teaches Language Arts here at Centralia High School, as well as our Publications class which is responsible for the creation of our annual school Yearbook. Over the, I believe it is 12 years now, that Mrs. Ludwig has taught at Centralia High School, she has taught Language Arts at a variety of levels, from Juniors and Seniors in LA III and LA IV to her current position of Freshman in LA I. From time to time, she has taken on other unique classes, such as Strategic LA I and Exploratory LA IV, classes designed to target specific Reading, Writing, and Communication skills for students with unique needs and interests.
As the years have gone by, and the assignments have changed, there have been some constants that have endured in Mrs. Ludwig’s classroom. Her intense passion for her content area, her devotion to students, and her neverending pursuit of growing and improving her craft have always been fully resolute. Over the years, there have been times I’ve been asked to describe, for example in Board or Administrative meetings, the strengths of teachers in the High School. One of the narratives I have used to describe Mrs. Ludwig is that she teachers Language Arts like a Framer builds a house…she measures at least twice before every cut. Mrs. Ludwig is willing to do the very hard work of putting the tape to every sentence, every paragraph, every noun, comma, and citation. Motivating students to write a Creative Essay may not always be easy, but that does not sound nearly as intimidating, I am sure to most of us, as motivating Freshmen LA students to correctly apply the use of colons, semi-colons, or prepositional phrases. Mrs. Ludwig has always welcomed that challenge and attacked that hard, but necessary work on behalf of all of her students.
In addition to the day to day of classroom instruction, Mrs. Ludwig has grown into a leader on our staff. As turnover has happened over the years in her department, she has repeatedly been asked to play the role of mentor. Her encouragement, support and direction have been invaluable resources for her Language Arts colleagues, as well as for her colleagues in other departments. In addressing new PLC initiatives this past year, our Language Arts Team has developed into a very strong, cohesive unit. Much of the reason for this positive group dynamic is the direct result of Mrs. Ludwig’s ability to share her rich content knowledge, and at the same time welcome new ideas and perspectives.
There are some familiar sites about CHS that I am sure many of our Seniors and Senior parents in attendance tonight can recall with me. One is the image of Mrs. Ludwig, at the end of the gym, camera in tow, collecting promising material to supplement our yearbook. Another is Mrs. Ludwig here with her family to watch a sporting event, cheering from the top row, but with a stack of essays she is reading during timeouts. These are the kinds of images and memories that are fun to reminisce about, but also ones that illustrate the commitment to her work, to her students, and to our school and community that embodies Mrs. Ludwig’s impact on Centralia High School.
Mrs. Ludwig, on behalf of all the staff and students here at CHS, congratulations on being named the 2021-22 CHS Educator of the Year.