Thanks to Teachers: Ella Peterson

Thanks to Teachers: Ella Peterson

Seventh-grade math began as a struggle for Harris Middle School Student Elizabeth Bonaminio. "Last year, I had trouble doing fractions," remembers Bonaminio, now in eighth grade. "It was a little hard trying to multiply them, and she helped me step by step, which made everything a little easier." That teacher is Ella Peterson, who has lifelong ties to Harris Middle School. "I was able to play in Harris Middle as a child, and now, I've been able to go back and be here as a teacher," says Peterson.

The school auditorium is named after Peterson's grandparents, Robert and Betty Young. Peterson's mother also taught in Mitchell County schools. Peterson is a former Harris Middle student. "I would always play school when I was little," recalls Peterson. "I just felt like it was such an opportunity and a privilege to be able to go and just spend my day with kids, and just help them pick up some life skills."

But, while her career choice was easy, Peterson suffered a huge personal loss when her husband, state trooper Brandon Peterson, passed away in April. Then, and now, Peterson says, the students are helping her through. "After Brandon passed away, I was able...I came back to work and the kids were not only just kind to me, but they allowed me just kind of a release of being able to come in the classroom and enjoy their company and enjoy teaching them." says Peterson. "I couldn't imagine how bad that was for her," says Bonaminio. "especially with a daughter. When she came back to school, she was just on top of things, making sure we were caught up and making sure we were ready for the end of grade tests."

Now, Peterson helps the next generation of Harris Middle School students calculate their own future. "I want to be a nurse when I'm older," says Bonaminio, adding "There's a lot of science and math in that."

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