More than 40 years ago high school science teacher Cheryl Wells began her tenure at Dexter Community Schools. Now at the end of the 2014-15 school year, she’ll be teaching her final class.
During her time at Dexter High School, Wells has been the catalyst for several clubs that are now a staple part of the science department including the school’s Ocean Bowl team and the Women in Science Club.
The Dexter Ocean Bowl team has been competing for the past 18 years and has won their regional competition eight times. The Ocean Bowl team has traveled to nationals all over the country including places like Monterey, California and Seward, Alaska and this year will be heading to Mississippi.
Listen to Wells talk about what happens when The DHS Ocean Bowl makes it to nationals:
Wells’ career as an educator began at a private Catholic school, which she says molded her into a very independent teacher.
“It made me see the big picture,” she said. “You learned how to find resources in the neighborhoods and the garage sales and through parents and put on as much as you could with nothing. It was really teaching science by just collecting.”
When Wells moved on to Dexter Community Schools in 1975, she was brought on after Title IX was enacted and the need for teachers who could coach women’s sports was high.
Wells taught volleyball for her first six years at DHS. Since then she’s also been involved in coaching and chairing several students clubs including National Honors Society, Future Educators of America and the Science Bowl in addition to her roles with Women in Science and Ocean Bowl.
Her dedication and commitment to the school’s robust science program stems, she says, comes from the kids at Dexter Community Schools.
“It wasn’t me, it was these great kids,” she said. “I’m surrounded by wonderful kids…I just like to come in to work every day and have fun.”
A quick search for Wells’ name on RateMyTeachers.com makes it pretty plain that Wells’ love for her students is mutual:
“Her anatomy class was the best at DHS! It made me seriously consider becoming a Dr., now I’m on the pre-med track at UofM. I love (you) Mrs. Wells!”
“She is pretty awesome! She is the reason I graduated early!”
“Really helpful teacher and the kids definitely come first.”
Despite her retirement, Wells is certain she’s leaving the science department in good hands.
“I know my anatomy is safe down there with Mrs. Tracy and I know a lot of the very cool kinds of chemistry that we’ve been doing here will be incorporated into some of the other programs,” she said. “So it’ll still be around, it just won’t be me at the helm.”
As she retires, Wells plans to get some time in with her grandchildren, do some traveling with her husband and get more involved with a few local service organizations.
“I have plenty to do,” she said. “I’m always a busy person, therefore I’ll stay a busy person.”