Star of the Week – Elisabeth Brunk
Elisabeth Brunk wears a smile as brilliant as the Lone Star of Texas, although she lives in Cincinnati, where she teaches students at an inner-city school. Working in this school has allowed Elisabeth to be more than a teacher; she is also a motherly role model and friend to students in her third-grade classes. For nine months per year, Elisabeth views her calling as one that “molds young students to achieve the best possible version of themselves.” By approaching her job this way, Elisabeth is able to make an impact on the students’ lives. “It’s my aim to give them the confidence to realize they are priceless, precious and worth so very much,” Elisabeth added in a recent interview with STAR WINAR Magazine.
During her conversation with STAR WINAR, Elisabeth recounts one of her most rewarding memories as a teacher. She tells us of when she was reading Little House on the Prairie to her class, one of her childhood favorites, and a boy began to cry. He asked Ms. Brunk, “Why do we always have to read books where the kids have a dad. It keeps reminding me that I don’t have a dad, and I just feel so lonely, like I am missing something that everyone else has, but I will never get to have.” Before she could reply, a little boy stood up and sat next to his friend who was crying. “I don’t have a dad either. Look around you, several of us don’t have fathers, but we are brave; we have the Lord and we have each other.”
As with any 3rd grade class, her students face certain obstacles that they must learn to overcome. “I try my best to help the kids analyze situations in life in order to make positive and productive decisions.” Elisabeth added, “I love them unconditionally and try to offer them grace, while working to instill in them the truth that their decisions will have consequences. Making the right choice is not always easy for a child, but I am convinced that within every student is the infinite potential to be a positive decision-maker.”
“Irresponsibility and instant gratification are growing problems in American culture. Some students come from homes where they do not feel wanted or valued, which can lead to low self-esteem and a lack of self-worth. Furthermore, they may have very few positive role models to guide them. Parents, grandparents and teachers need to step it up to guide these kids to make good decisions. The desire to make a difference is inside each of them, and my job is to foster the pro-active motivated spirit needed for them to make positive and productive life choices.” In her unique role as an inner-city teacher, Elisabeth has observed hurdles that her students may face, such as broken families and the influence of the media. “My aim is to provide a classroom environment where kids are inspired by solid role models. I want to help challenge them to think critically and learn decisions-making strategies that will provide for them the foundation they need to succeed with confidence.”
Ms. Brunk inspires kids everyday, and she leaves us with a quote from George Washington, which you can apply to your own life, “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you want a reputable reputation; for ‘it is better to be alone than in bad company.” Do as Elisabeth does, and help others believe in their dreams, inspiring them to become great.