MARQUETTE - To say that Krista Squires is well-rounded would be an understatement. She competed for four years on Northern Michigan University's track and field team, coaches volleyball at Westwood High School and is training for a chance to represent the U.S. in the Olympics on the women's bobsled team. But her accomplishments aren't merely athletic, as she is excelling during her time student teaching at Negaunee Middle School, under the wing of science teacher Chuck Delpier. While Squires has been helping her students grow - she, in turn - has been growing right along with them.
"I told her we'd like to keep her forever, but we know she has got to move on," Delpier, a 28-year teaching veteran, said.
Their journey together began last year when Squires did some observation in Delpier's classroom. And while he said he doesn't often take on student teachers, he said he was particularly impressed with the effect Squires was having on his students.
Student teacher Krista Squires gives her class at Negaunee Middle School information on earthquakes. Squires is finishing up student teaching at the middle school under the direction of veteran teacher Chuck Delpier. (Journal photo by Claire Abent)
When it came time to for Squires to student teach, she considered going elsewhere but eventually decided to stay in Negaunee.
"She came to me in really good shape and I can't say that of all situations," he said. "We kind of came up with a plan right from the start that neither of us would completely take over or completely lose touch with the students."
It turned out to be a positive decision for both student and teacher.
"I've learned a lot of things from her, she probably doesn't realize that," Delpier said.
"I couldn't thank Chuck enough for the knowledge that he has passed on to me," she said. "I've learned a lot. You don't realize it until you sit and think about it."
Heading into this semester, Squires wasn't entirely sure how being a student teacher was going to pan out, but she feels now that her expectations were met and exceeded.
"Nothing prepares you for the real thing," she said. "Every day is a new day. I've seen so many things. I feel like a real teacher. I feel like the mission is complete."
Delpier said that one of the most important things that she can do is to keep laughing.
"It's therapeutic to laugh and not take the whole thing too seriously," he said. "But yet, at the same time, we're both ultra-responsible people."
Whether it has been spending time in the lab or working with them outside the classroom on a project at Partridge Creek, Squires said she has found ways to engage and reach her students.
"One thing I'll take away from Chuck is that if you make the kids active learners, then they'll learn more. That sticks with them. It's the experience that sticks."
But for a long time, teaching wasn't a path Squires had planned to take. Up through her sophomore year in college, she fully intended to become a veterinarian but changed her mind after working a vet clinic and hasn't looked back since.
"I don't regret the decision at all. It's definitely a good fit," she said. "I didn't envision this. I didn't see this journey, but I'm happy with the way things turned out."
As for her future, Squires isn't sure what it holds. With graduation looming in only a few weeks, she would like to find a teaching job in the area so she can continue coaching at Westwood, maybe help out with the NMU track team and train for the bobsled tryouts next summer.
"It's a big decision right now," she said. "The future is wide open."
Claire Abent can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.