Teacher appreciation to Mr. Boruff: Mylee-Ki Gramenz, freshman, 233,290 minutes remaining


A bright yellow suit walked down the hallway, waving to students as he went, before disappearing into a dimly lit room. That was Mylee-Ki Gramenz’s first impression of Mr. Ben Boruff, English teacher. When she walked into his classroom for his second-semester creative writing class, she was met with an awkward silence, a room full of students from all grades gathered together. Almost immediately though, the class began to lighten as the vibe of the classroom setting in.

The room was dimly lit with a series of LED strip lights, tall, color-changing lamps and even a lava lamp set on a table near the whiteboard. His walls were decorated with posters depicting different books, movies and TV shows. A random assortment of objects adorned the whiteboard and a small desk in the front right corner of the room. A few framed photos displaying Mr. Boruff with various graduating seniors topped personal letters and notes surrounding his small desk.

He began class with a goofy bell ringer about surviving an alien invasion, and his other bell ringers followed a similar format, helping students to get talking and open up. Mylee-Ki began to look forward to his bell ringers, and the discussion that followed. Mr. Boruff helped foster an appreciation for learning that Mylee-Ki hadn’t experienced in other classes. His knowledge of his subject matter and confidence in his students helped them to feel like they belonged and were able to be successful in his class. He allowed for good discussion and encouraged the class to be true to themselves in their writing, writing for themselves and not others.

Wherever Mylee-Ki misses school, Mr. Boruff is understanding and provides extra time when needed. This contributes to a sense of safety and security in his classroom, because students don’t need to worry about him getting upset or speaking down to them when they can’t meet a deadline or need an extension. Mylee-Ki always feels comfortable speaking to Mr. B about issues she has at school, and he’s always willing to lend an ear in support.