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Excellent Educator: Abby Henrickson Of Chaska M.S. East

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Abby Henrickson is a ball of energy at Chaska Middle School East. It’s her goal to make what can be a tough topic, math, fun to learn. But she’s also teaching her students how to be charitable citizens. And their work is really adding up for families in need this holiday season.

“If you would have told me I would be teaching middle school math I would have laughed,” she said. “Math is hard and middle school is hard.”

But it’s never only been about the equations on the wall or the numbers on the board.

“They are the reason that I come here every day that’s what I tell them it’s not like I come for the math, believe it or not it’s not why I come,” she said.

To Henrickson her most important lesson is to encourage kids how to be good humans. If they are, they get a seat at what she calls the “cool kids table.”

“If they do something cool, it has nothing to do with school, nothing to do with math, if they do something cool in our community, kids get to sit there and so this year we started it and kids are helping kids shovel or helping sixth-graders get to class and getting that recognition for being good people,” said Hendrickson.

Last year, her students voted unanimously to help a family with gifts during the holidays.

“It brought me to tears, we helped the family by making them birthday buckets they would get throughout the year as well so it was not only on Christmas,” she said.

A teacher’s generosity, multiplied, when sharing it with students.

“Math is important don’t get me wrong, but I think making sure these are all amazing kids outside of this classroom is more important to me,” she said.

Hendrickson is from Janesville, Minnesota. You can say teaching runs in the family. Her grandpa taught high school and her mom was an elementary school teacher.

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