RICHLANDS, N.C. – (WNCT) WNCT is honoring our STEM teachers and this month we are in Onslow County, where one teacher has made such an impact on her students that they come back from college to serve as mentors to her class.
Lila Hackett is a 17 year teaching veteran, but she’s in her tenth year as a teacher at Richlands High School. She currently teaches a variety of classes at the AP level that include math, physics, and engineering. Hackett said her teaching style is very different from other teachers, “I’m not big on sitting in your seat, raising your hand, and ask questions. It’s kind of anything goes I need that for the engineering mindset.”
Hackett keeps in touch with her former students and they even come back to visit her classroom throughout the school year to serve as mentors to her current students. Many of them now attend NC State, majoring in various fields of engineering. They help to keep the current students encouraged through the sometimes challenging coursework, just like Mrs. Hackett did for them then and as she continues to do so now that they’re in college.
Maximino Smith is one of those students, he said he could always depend on Mrs. Hackett, “If I ever needed anything at all I can come to her and ask her and she either had it or would find a way to help me out,” he said.
Another one of her former students, Jonathan Thomas tells us she really inspired him to be an engineer and a physicist. “I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I went into college and she kind of led me down the path to helping me figure out what I wanted to do.”
Mrs. Hackett said seeing her former student give back is very encouraging that’s making an impact on her students, past and present. “It keeps me going, some days just in the classroom, you lose perspective and then you see them come back and the difference that they’re making in the world and then you realize, it was all worth it,” she said.
With her WNCT stem teacher of the month award, Mrs. Hackett will use the money to purchase presenting supplies and journals for her students.