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Nine Inducted to Wall of Inspiration

Social+studies+teacher+Steve+Cunningham+shakes+hands+with++2007+Inductee+Kurt+Barickman+during+the+induction+ceremony+held+in+the+Orrie+Jirele+Gymnasium.+
Social studies teacher Steve Cunningham shakes hands with  2007 Inductee Kurt Barickman during the induction ceremony held in the Orrie Jirele Gymnasium.

Social studies teacher Steve Cunningham shakes hands with 2007 Inductee Kurt Barickman during the induction ceremony held in the Orrie Jirele Gymnasium.

Brenda De Rosas

Brenda De Rosas

Social studies teacher Steve Cunningham shakes hands with 2007 Inductee Kurt Barickman during the induction ceremony held in the Orrie Jirele Gymnasium.

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The Wall of Inspiration honors those who are giving, passionate and selfless. It was started in 2004 after Josh Kuphal, who had Spina Bifida, passed away. Kuphal’s family wanted a place to honor their son and others who also inspire their community.
Nominations are made anonymous and are open to the public. This is the fourteenth year of honoring inspiring people.
Nine new members were inducted on the Wall of Inspiration on March 31: Gina Klennert, Madi Lindley, Hoang Tran, Luz Ruiz, Kiki Christensen, Htee Wah Shee, Jessica Gregory and Jack Buendorf.
Gina Klennert is a teacher at Albert Lea High School and has been teaching for six years, four at Albert Lea High School. She is inspired by opportunities and experiences.
“Gina Klennert inspires me beyond words,” a portion of the nomination letter stated. “She is strong, caring, funny, outgoing and dedicated. She makes a connection with each of her players and students. Everyday after school, she stands outside the office to high-five and say positive things to her students.”
Madi Lindley is a senior at Albert Lea High School. She is inspired by her dad as he never does anything without giving one hundred and ten percent.
“Her determination to never give up and her constant positive attitude in adversity is why I believe she should be on the wall,” a portion of the nomination letter stated. “Truthfully I could go on all day about how great and inspirational she is.”
Hoang Tran is a teacher at Albert Lea High School and has been teaching for three years. He is inspired by the sacrifices and struggles his family had to take when they left everything behind to come to the United States from Vietnam to give him and his sister the opportunity to succeed and make something in their lives.
“Not only does Mr. Tran dedicate himself to his students from 8 am to 3 pm, but he hosts chess club every Thursday and is happy to take any of his free time to help his students,” a portion of the nomination letter stated. “Mr. Tran not only teaches the science of life but also the values, morals and fun of life and learning. I’ve never respected a teacher so much. ALHS is lucky to have him.”
Luz Ruiz is a junior at Albert Lea High School. She is inspired by people who pursuit the right thing regardless of what effect that has on them. She is also inspired by her mother, father and stepfather.
“Luz is one of the nicest people I have had the honor of knowing and working with,” a portion of the nomination letter stated. “She is involved in many activities and excels in all of her activities. She is a special young lady that is a difference maker in the lives of others.”
Kiki Christensen is a teacher at Lakeview Elementary.
She is inspired by people who overcome and survive tough times especially kids and young adults.
“She is one of the most wonderful people in Albert Lea,” a portion of the nomination letter stated. “Teaching is a true passion for Kiki. The love she has for each student is so strong that you would think they were her own children. Kiki is always there to listen no matter what the subject and not matter who you are. She will sit and listen to you if you are young or old. People admire her and respect her. I hope you love Kiki Christenson as much as everyone else does and I hope you can see the inspiration she has brought to me and many others.”
Htee Wah Shee is a junior at Albert Lea High School. He is inspired by honesty and admitting your mistakes.
“He has inspired me to be a carefree, loving person,” a portion of the nomination letter stated. “He taught me that labels people give me don’t mean anything, what truly matters is how I treat others. Htee Wah cares about the people around him making sure that everyone feels included in whatever is going on. Htee Wah is a leader in our community, our schools and church. His connection to God is beautiful and inspirational to many. I believe that Htee Wah should go on the Wall of Inspiration because he has shown me the importance of truly living life by each moment not just living for the future.”
Jessica Gregory is a teacher at Albert Lea High School and has been teaching for five years.
“If I could use just a few words to explain Ms. Gregory I would probably choose completely selfless, encouraging, positive, accountable and driven,” a portion of the nomination letter stated. “Whenever I’m stuck and need help she is the first to come to my side and help. Her students are her first priority. Being able to learn under this incredible lady has meant more to me that I can even begin to explain. No one has ever made me feel so confident, not just with my schoolwork but with my life in general. I admire that she actually cares about me and acknowledges me on a daily basis starting with a simple ‘hey’ when I walk into her room.”
Jack Buendorf is a senior at Albert Lea High School. He is inspired by people who continually do the right thing and are successful in their careers and community.
“Jack Buendorf is one of the most inspirational person [sic] I know,” a portion of the nomination letter stated. “His dedication to hard work is something that everyone should strive for. Jack always has a positive attitude and pushes himself and others to be their best and do their best. You can always count on Jack to be there for you. If Mr. Gentz would ask what star quality Jack has I would answer Jack has all the star qualities and then some.”
Steve Cunningham is a teacher at Albert Lea High School and has been teaching for twenty-six years. He is inspired by his family, people who overcome obstacles to do great things, random acts of kindness and the wonders of nature.
“Mr. Cunningham’s first words to me were, ‘Sometimes life gets in the way. It’s ok to come talk to me,’” a portion of the nomination letter stated. “I instantly knew that he would make a difference in my life. He teaches with energy and connects with students. Mr. Cunningham deserves to be on the Wall of Inspiration because he motivates and encourages his students to keep on learning because education is number one. Learning is the best gift and we are lucky to have Mr. Cunningham to give us that gift.”
Like the wall motto, be the change you want to see.

“For my tile I have a mirror and a quote that says ‘The Inspiration is you’,” Htee Wah Shee said.” That just means that to me the biggest inspiration is the one in the mirror for you.”

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Albert Lea High School Newspaper
Nine Inducted to Wall of Inspiration