Teacher Spotlight, Student Perspective (part 1)

Former student Kevin Chao shares about one of his most influential teachers,
Mr. Gertsen (junior high U.S. and World History)

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Expressing many Christ-like attributes throughout his extraordinary personal life, as well as in the classroom, Mr. Gertsen is a humble and merciful man of God, who walks right with the Lord.   In doing so, Mr. Gertsen, is one of the most influential role models any student, parent or friend could have.  His history classes were so exciting!  Although history can sometimes be seen as a bunch of dreary facts, Mr. Gertsen (at 6’8”) is always able to come down to a junior higher’s level and make historical facts an intriguing, relevant story. At the same time, he is able to incorporate Christianity into his classes and encourages us to be the leaders of the future.   He appreciates each of his students for their individual strengths and challenges us to become better people every day.

I had the pleasure of taking both World and U.S. History with Mr. Gertsen, but my favorite part of junior high was being an intern for the Richard Gertsen History Center (RGHC) in 8th grade.  RGHC is named after Mr. Gertsen’s hero, his dad, and is a special elective history class for those interested in studying and working with historical documents.  In this class we focused on growing deeper in Southern California history, as well as studying in depth the life of one of the most Christ-centered and successful presidents, Theodore Roosevelt. I was so blessed to be chosen as one of the six interns, as this is no regular history class; this was an honor.  I was able to improve my research and presentation skills, essay skills, and learn new ways to remember history.

RGHC was so much more than a class for me.  It is a collection of historical artifacts that have helped to shape our nations’ history.  Being able to study and work as a museum curator of these artifacts, right on our Calvary Christian School campus, was an amazing opportunity. I looked forward to going to RGHC every day.  Mr. Gertsen shared with us daily his strong passion for preserving our nation’s history, while also teaching us how to research and care for RGHC’s extensive museum collection. I highly recommend taking a tour.  The items are amazing, as each one tells a story.

Mr. Gertsen’s classes are truly one of a kind. He is able to keep students focused and intrigued with a subject that can easily become a bore.  But Mr. Gertsen’s impact on my life through the RGHC experience and his classes is a blessing that will stay with me for a lifetime.

(Part 2 coming soon….an interview with Mr. Gertsen)

Kevin Chao is a freshman at Crean Lutheran High School, where he was invited to be a part of a medical cohort program.  He thoroughly enjoys his A.P. World History course, and likes to tell how Mr. Gertsen prepared him well.  Kevin attends high school group at Saddleback Church and still swims regularly.

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