A wise person told me that we vote our lifestyle. I’m not sharing how I voted, but I will tell you that education, compassion and children are at the forefront of my decisions.

Let me tell you a little about my fifth-grade students.

They are smarter than kids were even 20 years ago. They sometimes get fooled by false information on the web, but they are becoming adept at finding proof. They know the meaning of the word “discrepancy.” They know how to have civil discourse when discussing differing ideas.

They have already learned compassion.

Most of their lives are tough. Many live with one parent, grandparents or someone in our community who cares. Many are on free or reduced breakfast and lunch at school. Some want to conceal their racial background. Others live with the damage of being born to a mother with a drug addiction. One lives with a broken heart for the same reason.

These kids wanted to make me feel better after a recent personal loss. They wrote notes, they offered hugs, and even stayed in during recess to show sympathy.

These fifth-graders give me hope.

I’m glad I voted, I’m glad it’s over, and I pray for a modicum of respect for and from those who won and lost.


Denise Ohlson

Fifth-grade teacher

Evergreen Elementary