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Zillah High School English teacher Mark Nelson, left, poses with members of Zillah’s 2018-19 Knowledge Bowl team he coached during the regional meet that was held Feb. 20 at West Valley High School. With him are team members Timothy Leslie, Asha Clevenger, Elyse Dunn, Kyle Fergus, David Grigg and Luka Westfall.

What is one of the best memories you can take with you after high school? Hanging out with friends? Sure. Receiving high honors? Of course.

But one memory that will last a lifetime is the impact of a teacher on a student. Students can create bonds with multiple teachers, but there will be one teacher who creates that special bond that students never forget — the teacher who will most inspire you and help you build your platform as you ascend through school.

For me, that teacher is Mark Nelson, my honors English teacher at Zillah who is also the golf coach and adviser of our school’s Knowledge Bowl program. He teaches honors English for students from 10th through 12th grade, and offers electives like science fiction and fantasy literature. We read classics in his class such as “Lord of the Flies,” “The Great Gatsby” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and Mr. Nelson will talk about classic books with such passion — and he’ll even know when we are all into the discussion or half asleep.

One of the most significant and special things about Mr. Nelson is that he will talk to every student in his classroom and communicate with them — not as just a teacher, but as a friend. Mr. Nelson always has a story to tell and a heart to share with his students. He may talk to us as a class about his college golf experiences, or he may just ask his students what’s new and have us all talk to each other for a little bit.

Mark Nelson definitely has left a long-lasting impression on probably every student he’s ever had, and he gives his students wisdom that we’re able to build on as we go through his classes at Zillah and eventually into college. Thank you, Mr. Nelson, for being a remarkable teacher!

Jessica McDonald is a senior at Zillah High School.