Thanks for everything, Mr. Culver!


Whether it be for the tireless dedication they put in towards our education or the way they push us to be better versions of ourselves each and every day, teachers are a vital part of not only our education and academic careers, but our lives as a whole. One of a kind, absolutely extraordinary teachers, however, are nothing short of being one for the yearbooks. These are the kinds of teachers that truly make a mark in our lives and make school more than just a monotonous task by bringing life and magic into their daily lessons and teachings. These are the teachers that are truly unforgettable.

There is no better person than Jacob Culver himself to exemplify this. Culver has been a math teacher at Imagine Prep for an astonishing five years and during these five years, he has certainly become quite the favorite around campus. His unique personality and true compassion for teaching and his students have made him  favorite around campus. Unfortunately, at the conclusion of this school year, Culver’s time with Imagine Prep will be coming to a close.

Culver explained what exactly these end of the school year plans will entail and his reasons for wanting to take advantage of this new opportunity.

When I move back to Michigan at the end of this school year I will be enrolled into the Masters of Statistics graduate program at Western Michigan University (WMU), my Alma Mater (the school, college, or university that one once attended),” Culver said. “There were a few factors that compelled me to make this decision. Firstly, most teachers have to continue their education at some point in their career in order to renew their teaching license. My teaching certification is about ready to expire and I would need to be at least enrolled in some sort of a masters program to renew the type of license that I have. Secondly, my family is all back in Michigan. They come to visit my wife and me from time to time, but it really is not the same. And if my wife and I plan to start a family soon I know my family will want to share in those memories with us. Lastly, I have a unique opportunity at WMU to earn a masters degree in Statistics. I am even hoping that with my teaching experience I can land a job as a Teacher’s Assistant at the University and my masters degree would be paid for by the University.”

Taking this path will help open many doors for Culver, but with new opportunities come new challenges as well. Culver described what he dreads most about returning back to school.

“I am most nervous about taking classes again and being on a college campus. I have been the teacher for so long that being the student will be a big change,” Culver said. “I am also nervous to be surrounded everyday by a bunch of young kids that I could have very well taught. I will have to remind myself to turn off the teacher in me and not scold the students that are tardy to class!”

Nonetheless, Culver is still very excited to go back to his home state. He described what he most looks forward to when he gets to return to Michigan.

“I am most excited to be around my family again,” Culver said. “I miss casual Sunday dinners with my parents and going to my brother’s house for the big football game.”

Even though he is eager to return to his family, having to leave the Prep behind still saddens him. Besides the students, Culver recalled what he will miss most about teaching here.

“Oddly, I think I will miss the Cambridge review sessions quite a lot,” Culver said. “I loved to teach the students that would show up for the review sessions because they were always very eager to learn. I will also miss the tight knit community Imagine Prep has. For example, I will really miss getting to teach the siblings of students I had a couple of years before. After a while I would get to know the families of those students pretty well and teaching their siblings meant I got to stay up to date with my former students.”

Culver described some of his favorite memories around campus.

“My favorite memories are the ones when students really understood the math that I was teaching; when kids would have a breakthrough,” Culver said. “The ‘light bulb’ moment is one of the things that most teachers really love about teaching. I also really enjoyed the day that test scores came back and I got to congratulate the students that had passed the math exam. One memory in particular that I will never forget is being duct taped to the gym wall [which was a part of one of the Prep’s fundraisers].”

Culver had some great friends along the way and one of them was Tiffany Loree, a high school math teacher at Imagine Prep. Loree and Culver have been working together for a few years now and both have been a great team.

“Mr. Culver has been a very good friend to me and a coach as well,” Loree said. “Over the past few years, Mr. Culver has helped me tweak and improve my curriculum and my teaching. He has been a constant resource and support for me and I really am sad to see him leave this year. ”

Megan Walker, a senior at Imagine Prep, has had Culver as a teacher for three years and despite the fact that she is no longer in any of his classes, she still takes the time out of her day to pay him visits throughout the week. Walker described what made Culver such a special and memorable teacher to her.

“Mr. Culver was an amazing teacher,” Walker said. “He would always give detailed explanations and multiple examples to get the concept across and if people still weren’t confident in their skill, he would find new and engaging ways of explaining it. I remember not being afraid to ask questions and knowing that, even if I still didn’t understand in the class period, he always made himself available to his students in office hours. Going into each quiz, I felt confident that I had been taught well and understood the material because of how thorough he was in class. I think that was the last year I felt I was learning a lot of math and fully comprehending and understanding it.”

Noah Lugo, a current junior at Imagine Prep, has had Culver for three years now and is currently in his fifth hour Algebra class. Lugo also described what he likes most about Culver’s teaching style.

“I believe that Mr. Culver is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had,” Lugo said. “Despite teaching math, which is a subject a lot of people struggle with, he manages to keep people interested in what he’s teaching, whether it be with his personality or his lessons. If anyone is ever struggling, I always see him trying to make it so, individually, that person understands what it is that’s being taught. Mr. Culver has been teaching me for three years now and I’ve seen him get upset with students or the class as a whole to the point where he has to actually yell at them, but I’ve realized that he only does this because he cares. If he didn’t care, he wouldn’t waste his time telling. He could easily hand up the homework without telling us much of anything, but he doesn’t. He tries and gets everyone to focus because he cares about our future and wants us to learn.”

Walker recalled her favorite memories from being in his class.

“My favorite memories of Mr. Culver’s class are the interactive activities,” Walker said. “He would plan to involve the class more and make math fun, as fun as math can be that is. Those were the lessons I felt I understood the most and were able to remember longer.”

Lugo also recalled his favorite memories from his classes with Culver.

“Honestly, trying to pick out a favorite memory from his class is really hard for me because every day is unique in one way or another,” Lugo said. “There’s been a day where a kid called him a ‘handsome tater tot’ and, to this day, I don’t think Mr. Culver knows how to feel about it. Then, there have been multiple days where the two same kids keep bombarding him with useless questions until Mr. Culver was straight up with them and they stopped asking questions. Recently though, Mr. Culver has been helping me with a project during lunch and he told me ‘You know Noah, you’re my spirit morning self. You’re like a lost soul who doesn’t know why they’re here.’ I still don’t know how to feel about it, but it just makes me feel some sort of way. I just know it makes me sad that I won’t have the opportunity to have any new experiences with him next year and I already miss him.”

Loree hopes for the best for culver and wishes him the best of luck.

“He will be missed next year, however I am very excited for him and for the opportunities that await him back in Michigan,” Loree said. “I wish him and his family the best of luck and I hope that he will come back and visit from time to time.”

Leaving the Prep and the students he has impacted behind will be a big step for Culver and, though doing so will help open many new opportunities for him, he remains uncertain of what exactly the future holds for him.

“I do not know exactly what the future holds after I finish my Masters degree,” Culver said. “I always tell students that they should learn math, even if they think they will never use it, because it gives them options for the future. I think that is why I chose to study statistics. After I have completed my degree I can return to the classroom, teach at a local community college, or branch out at work for a company in the private sector. It all depends on the needs of my family and where I feel like I am being called to go. One thing is for certain though… I do really love teaching and one day, maybe soon or maybe down the road, I will be back in a classroom.”