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Fuzzy Slippers, Tacos, And A Long List Of Other Things For Which We Give Thanks

Among parents and teachers, the topic of thankfulness almost always leads to the question of how to inspire kids to be mindful of their blessings, rather than focused on entitlement.

Since one of the best ways to foster an attitude of gratitude in young people is by setting our own example of gratefulness, I asked the iUniversity Prep faculty to share what they are most thankful for—including their gratitude for the little things in life, like good coffee or a favorite restaurant.

A Checklist of Thankfulness, from the Faculty at iUniversity Prep

Like every single one of our Owl professors, I’m especially thankful for the chance to be a part of the lives of our students and their families. I am also thankful for my incredible daughter and the friends and family who keep my heart warm and filled.

I am thankful that each day I get out of bed and know I am living the dream with a dream team. And of course, I am thankful that my office is right around the corner from Starbucks!

Let’s take a look at what the rest of the Owl family is giving thanks for these days:

Laurie Alsobrook (Science and Art) “What makes me feel thankful? A job that allows me to help others every day, my crazy dog who shows me that every moment is an opportunity to be happy and to play, and the chance to be a parent again with Avery, my stepdaughter.

I’m thankful, too, for new sketchbooks that are full of promise, for Thursday Steak Night, and the fact that the election is finally over. I’m also thankful that I get to spend my life with my best friend. It’s a good thing we found each other – no one else would understand our weirdness!”

Tina Alwin (Science) “My thankful list: Diet Dr. Pepper, getting to walk down the hall in my PJs and go straight to work, sunny days with the top down on my car, and dog parks.

I also feel thankful when students leave my room and say ‘thank you’. It means that they got something out of my class—and that’s a great feeling!”

Jeff Ausdemore (Music and Technology) “I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to help students pursue their dreams artistically, athletically, and socially; for the opportunity to collaborate with our fabulous faculty; and for the new work-life balance that this job gives me—it’s helping me focus more on my good health and fitness.

I’m thankful that the election is over. And I’m also thankful for Massaman curry. It’s the best!

Wyler Bartschi (Math) “I'm thankful I didn't have to take off work to take care of my sick child last week. I'm thankful for all of the ‘opportunities’ Dr. Rogers likes to give me. I'm thankful to work with some great teachers and amazing students.”

Andres Betancur (Spanish, Health and PE) “I’m thankful that I get to ‘go’ to work in my new office, for my 2 p.m. snack, for the internet and all of its wonderful rabbit trails to explore, and my favorite TV show, ‘Survivor’.

John Bowman (ELA and Social Studies) “I’m thankful that I don’t have to fix my hair in the morning and that I only have to drive to work once a week. I’m also thankful for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and for the greatness that is”

Kiley Brown (Science) “When I count my blessings, I think of my teardrop camper. It allows me to travel, see new places, and understand that I could live happily with less, if I needed to. I’m also thankful for my new-to-me ’71 Suburban. It’s old and tired, but it keeps me going in style!”

Lucas Burch (Social studies, Speech and Health) “When I’m sick, I’m thankful for Kleenex with lotion —there’s nothing softer and more gentle on a sniffle-y nose. I’m also thankful for my standing desk, flip flops, Steel City Pops, and taco shops—you see more and more of them all the time and I love it.”

Neely Carter (Social Studies and Technology) “I’m thankful for my wife Sabrina and my kids Kyla and Laura—and for afternoons spent scooter-ing around the driveway with Laura and the fact that I haven’t yet fallen and broken anything.

I’m also thankful for my Owl family and how each of them wants success for our students and each other, for my friends who give me wise advice, and the fact that I live in a town where I can be anywhere I want to be in less than 10 minutes.”

Heather Davis (Math) “I’m especially thankful for Claudia, my fabulous cleaning lady, and the amazing smell of bleach. I’m also thankful for my husband who understands that dinner isn’t ready each night, even though I ‘sit at home’ during the day.

Heath Hamrick (Social Studies) “I’m thankful for my fellow Owl professors—they’re always full of smiles, laughs and energy! I’m also thankful for our school’s virtual dress code (even armor is allowed!), for Torchy’s Tacos and Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, and for coffee that tastes like candy when you add enough creamer.”

Stacy Heath (Coordinator of Academics, iUniversity Prep) “I’m thankful that I get to be home every day when my daughter gets out of school. I get to hear firsthand about her day, and this has changed our relationship in ways I could never have imagined.

I’m also grateful for a husband who loves to cook (and he’s so good at it!), for Texas friends that I’ve adopted as family (can’t wait to spend Thanksgiving with them), for an incredible group of people I get to work with every day (I love them all), and the fact that I don’t have to drive down Highway 114 every day (it’s the worst).”

Nikki Harbison (English and Journalism) “My gratitude checklist includes fuzzy pajama bottoms that can’t be seen on webcams, the vanilla bean yogurt I eat every night and tell myself is calorie-free, and my co-workers who are willing to split fajitas three ways with me—sometimes twice in a row.”

I’m also thankful that last night I walked through my house in the dark without tripping on a single Mega Blok or board book. Trust me, it’s an accomplishment.”

Jessica Lee (ELA and AVID) “I’m thankful for my kids—their battery life is longer than the Energizer Bunny! I’m also thankful for the online teaching life (hoodies are now my professional attire) and for Dr. Pepper that keeps me going morning, noon, and night.”

Kelsie Matthews (ELA) “After years of praying for the ‘job joy’ that I’m currently experiencing, I’m thankful to be working in such a positive, accepting and encouraging environment with the best team of teachers EVER!

I’m also thankful for my husband (he keeps me laughing and loved, and he also seems to produce a never-ending pile of laundry), for the fact that my parents live down the street (I can raid my mom’s closet whenever I need to), for my fur babies (the cutest), for Mi Dia (my favorite restaurant), and for the upcoming new episodes of ‘The Gilmore Girls’ on Netflix.”

Suzanne McFarland (Math) “I’m thankful for deep fried turkey, my mom’s stuffing recipe, the chance to gather with family and friends for down time, for my children who always keep me humble—and for the two computer screens in my home office. They’re the best!”

Amy Mount (ELA and Social Studies) “I give thanks for the chance to work and teach in a place where students and colleagues alike sharpen me to do better, and for my own kids, who teach me that it’s okay to be a mom-in-progress.”

I’m thankful for apps that keep me eating right, on time, connected to friends and family, and dressed right for the crazy weather at any odd minute in Texas. I’m also thankful for Stovetop stuffing (I don’t have time to make breadcrumbs) and for coffee—don’t think I need to explain that last one. “

Jerry Price (Technology) “Things I’m thankful for include the experience of working at iUniversity Prep, for computers that allow me to type, for pen and paper when my computer crashes, and for Microsoft updates that keep me current.”

Cheri Palmer (Math and Science) “I’m thankful that I work at iUniversity Prep with the best staff and parents around, and for my family and friends and their good health. I’m thankful, too, that I don’t have lunch duty anymore, for my daily ‘commute’ (which is me walking from my bedroom to my desk), for technology (when it works) and for my cool double monitors, which help me see all of my open screens.”

Desiree Weiche (Science) “I’m thankful for the virtual school life—it only matters what you look like from the waist up, you don’t have to take a shower every day, and you can go to the bathroom whenever you want.

I’m thankful for my husband—he feeds me and the dogs every day. And I’m thankful for ‘Friends’ streaming on Netflix—I can watch all the episodes and forget my troubles.”

Daniel Wennersten (Math) “I’m thankful for Halloween—the leftover Snickers are awesome!

I’m also thankful for the opportunity to be an online teacher. I especially love the attire (my fuzzy slippers keep my feet warm in winter, and complement my tie as well) and how the experience has helped me improve focus…wait, are those squirrels burying nuts right now?”


Dr. Kaye Rogers received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration with a minor in Statistics from the University of North Texas. She earned her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Tarleton State University. A life-long Texan, she has taught math and science in public schools and also in Spain. She has worked in public education for over 18 years, where she is committed to innovation and choice for families. She has opened three choice schools and is currently the Director of Virtual Learning at Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, where she oversees their state-wide virtual school and blended schools program.

Learn more about iUniversity Prep and see if online learning is right for your child. Check us out at or give us a call at 817-305-4895.

Unedited excerpts from this article as well as the article in its unedited entirety may be re-published by news media and education-related blogs and websites, giving proper attribution to the author. All other entities must seek permission first. Digital editors: Please backlink to

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