Siblings Share CF in Different Aspects

Chandal Geerdes/News Editor

Two new teachers in the high school have some advantages over the returning teachers: French teacher Brittan Lawrence and physics teacher Maria Hoekstra have or have had siblings who’ve attended Cedar Falls High School.

Maria Hoekstra is a CFHS graduate (class of ’04) and the older sister of senior Chris Pratt. She taught at Holmes Junior High and is now the new physics teacher. Coming back to the high school and being behind the desk instead of in front of it has brought back some old memories.

“I married my high school sweetheart, and we had physics together. We sat here right at this front table,” Hoekstra said.

Hoekstra got this job opportunity and jumped right on it because she personally knew it was a great school district. Now being a part of the school district as an employee, she gets to have her old teachers as co-workers.

“[It’s] very odd to have teachers that taught you as co-workers,” Hoekstra said. “You get to see true personalities of teachers, both sides professional and personal.”

Although she doesn’t teach her brother, Chris, she does get to see him once in awhile when he stops by in the mornings. Besides Chris, Hoekstra has known other students, like Lucas and Jacob Byers, since they were five years old.

“It’s kinda weird to have someone as my teacher who is an elementary friend’s sister, but it’s cool because I already knew her and had a connection,” senior Jacob Byers said.

Chris has received help from his sister about college and college preparation.

“Well my sister has talked to me about choices in my schedule for best preparing me. She told me to try and go to four years at University of Northern Iowa, ” Pratt said.

Chris has gotten used to the fact that Hoekstra is now a teacher at CF, but at first it was a little awkward for him. His friends have nothing but good things to say and find it surprising that she’s his sister.

Brittan Lawrence is in a similar boat as Hokestra. Although her sister Madison Lawrence graduated last year, Lawrence still has the upper advantage of personally knowing some of her students, because they were friends of Madison.

“I really like having her as a teacher. The first day I was really unsure of it all when I found out she would only talk in French, but now I can tell that’s going to help a ton,” junior Beth Keesy said. “Her class is a lot of fun. She mixes it up, so we’re usually doing something different everyday.”

Lawrence graduated from NU High class of ’07. Besides her field experience with Madame Danforth, Lawrence has not spent much time at Cedar Falls High School. Madison was more than happy to help decorate her classroom and help her connect names with faces and locations.

“I was able to help her set up her room, which was awesome. I liked being able to give her input on what Madame Danforth did with her room and maybe how Brittan can incorporate it into her teaching as well,” Madison said.

Lawrence knew that she wanted to teach at Cedar Falls High School because of the excellent French program and the opportunity of getting to work in the Cedar Falls School District. Now that she’s behind the desk instead of in front of it, she sees there is a lot of planning and behind the scenes work.

“It’s a lot more working instead of being a student, sitting in class listening [you’re] always on your toes thinking, and [teaching] requires a lot more energy,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence’s sister, Madison, is now off at Lora’s college but said she feels that CF is gaining a lot by having her sister be a teacher here.

“My sister is extremely nice and easy to talk to. Granted, if you’re in your class and try to talk to her afterwards, it will probably be in French, but that’s because she is very passionate about French and just wants her students to excel in the class. My sister is so driven and confident, sometimes I don’t understand how she does it. If she just puts her mind to something, I feel as if she can do it. I don’t need to be in her class to know that she’s a great teacher, I just know that she is,” Madison said.

Class of 2014

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