My favorite teacher was Mr. Bennett, my 10th grade history instructor. Mr. Bennett could paint a picture of a historical time or event like it was a Hollywood movie. His descriptive tales would transport you from the class to the very landscape he described. His tales could captivate the entire class. Whether you enjoyed history or not, Mr. Bennett’s methods of teaching made history enjoyable, and he left his students yearning for more.

I remember two days in particular that stand out, the day before and the day after the 2000 Presidential election. The day before, Mr. Bennett explained to the class why voting was important, in his opinion. Anytime he referenced voting, he would say, “If you don’t vote then you can’t complain.” Most of the class rolled their eyes and glazed over as Mr. Bennett was making his statement. One student even yelled, “Whether a few people vote or not, it doesn’t really matter. Usually there is a clear cut winner.” As we all know later that night, the closest Presidential race in American history happened. George Bush narrowly beat Vice President Al Gore.

The next day in class, Mr. Bennett walked in with the biggest ‘I told you so’ smile I’d ever seen. We went back over the lesson from the previous day, and he poked fun of us for thinking that every vote doesn’t count. He then explained the meaning of the Electoral College and how it worked, because like most Americans before that election, many students in his class had no clue how the Electoral College worked. His words right before the bell still stick with me to this day. “No one in America can say their vote doesn’t count anymore.”Mr. Bennett not only instilled a sense of political awareness in me and my classmates, but he personally instilled a love for history in me that continues to live on. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have Mr. Bennett as my 10th grade history teacher.

Singer Crawford is 50CAN’s communications and research associate. She lives in Washington D.C.

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