Teacher of the Week helps students ‘cross the finish line’

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This article was written by Emily Scarlett on September 18, 2023 and published by ABC On Your Side news.

Colin Nelson teach of the week


CALEDONIA, Mich. — Our next Teacher of the Week helped launch a brand-new program a few years ago truly making sure no student at Caledonia High School is left behind.


Colin Nelson works with all grades at Caledonia High School through the Cal Compass program.


“Colin puts out a lot of work with some of our marginalized students to get them across the finish line,” said Bill Martin, principal of Caledonia High School.


“Students that tend to struggle with academics and may have difficulty with various aspects of school,” said Nelson.


He told 13 ON YOUR SIDE that this is role he’s sort of been training for since he was in high school.


“Through my high school experience and college experience, I was in a lot of servant roles with working with students who had disabilities or various cognitive impairments and helping them in a school setting and that kind of just transferred over into me getting a teaching degree in that area.”


Nelson also leads the Capturing Kids’ Hearts initiative at the school, a program which focuses on the importance of building relationship with students.


While school has mostly returned to normal, “Post-pandemic, a lot of students are struggling and to know that they have a place that they can go to get that additional support is very necessary,” said Nelson.


He’s been with the school for about 18 years and said he’s thankful to have a district supporting students in nontraditional ways.


“It’s just really rewarding to know that today might hold something special for some kid to achieve some sort of greatness and to be part of that is really outstanding,” said Nelson.


The principal is encouraging more people to show their support to our teachers, and said they’re not like the teachers he had when he was in school.


“It’s different. It takes a lot more to get a student across the finish line for graduation. Requirements are different, more challenging these days. So, just take a minute and say thank you to your teachers. They put in a lot of hard work and they’re dedicated to making sure your students are getting the best education they can,” said Martin.


Nelson shared how, “To be acknowledged feels good and it’s important and makes you want to keep doing what you’re doing and know that you’re making a difference.”


“We appreciate WZZM for doing that,” said Martin.


If you have someone you’d like to nominate as our next Teacher of the Week, just text the word “teacher” to 616-559-1310.