I am truly flattered to be awarded the title of 2018 Teacher of the Year for Booker High School.

This honor has caused me to reflect on my 15 years of teaching and what I’ve done to foster and encourage student achievement along the way.

Education is my true passion, and my desire is to inspire a love of learning in all my students.

I believe one of my greatest strengths as an educator is improvising. It is necessary to be willing to take risks and learn from the experience. Student responses have become vital guides for me, as the most important objective is having students develop an interest in their own education.

Teaching is a profession that requires grueling work, persistent self-evaluation and reflection. I am constantly working to identify my weaknesses and acquire the necessary resources to strengthen them. These are the traits that I continually strive to model for my students, hoping my leadership will help to foster the same characteristics.

I am always amazed by my students and their accomplishments. The young men and women who have been part of my film program have accomplished success at a various levels, from being recognized at the Sarasota Film Festival’s Young Filmmakers Showcase to attending film school at prestigious institutions such as Florida State Univesity, Ringling College of Art and Design and Columbia College — and pursuing careers in working on Oscar-award winning films. It makes me incredibly humbled and proud to see my students flourish.

These successes reinforce my commitment to learning and education as I try to help all of my students become successful, lifelong learners.

My personal philosophy is that if students are willing to work hard, take risks and practice critical thinking, they will be successful in and out of the classroom. I believe all students should be afforded the benefits of an excellent education. An education is what will empower them to become lifelong learners and, in turn, contributing members of society.

Education can save students and guide the world to a better, more harmonious and civil existence.

Rebecca Abrahamson teaches 10th-grade English and is the visual and performing arts coordinator at Booker High School.