Very early on, Elizabeth, Liz as we all call her, displayed a determination that not every child has. She had decided that she was going places, and she set out to go there. Liz studied hard and began weighing her options, deciding what she wanted to do with her life.

She set her sights on teaching English, but her counselor said that she would do better in Journalism, so she got a Journalism degree, but her heart was still in the classroom. So, she continued on another year to get her degree in education, and returned to Casper to begin her career. Her skills would land her the jobs of the school newspaper, the annual, and photographing most events. Her work was flawless.

Her students loved her, and quickly gave her the nickname Mast. The end of their high school days would not mean the end of their friendship with their beloved teacher. They invited her on trips to Vegas and Europe. They wanted to stay connected to the treasured teacher who had become not only an inspiration to them during their high school days, but a lifelong friend. How many of us can say that after high school, we wanted to stay friends with our teachers. Even the teachers we liked faded into the distance as we left the walls of high school behind, but not so with Liz…or Mast. I see the comments her past students make to her on Facebook, and hear the love in their voices when she runs into one of them in town. A student sees her and excitedly yells out, “Mast!!” Then the chatter begins. “Guess what I did!!” “You would be so proud of me…I did this.” “I’m going to this school.” And so on. I have to say that it makes me proud to be her aunt when these young adults, whose lives she has helped to shape, excitedly gather around the teacher whose class they loved, and tell her about their future plans. The want her to be a part of it. After all, she helped start it.

Of course, being a teacher isn’t all Liz is about. She is Aunt Liz to her sisters’ and brother’s children, and they love her dearly…no matter how old they get. They love being around her, as do her cousins, and her aunts, uncles, and grandmother…not to mention her mom and sisters and brother and their families. Liz is a fun person to be around. Not everyone has that ability. She is a very special part of this family.

And last, but certainly not least, is her ability to photograph the moments of life. She captures the essence of the moment better than so many people could ever do. Her pictures are stunning, funny, beautiful, exciting, sad, goofy, or shocked, depending on what is going on at that moment. She has documented some of the most important moments in the lives of family and friends, and given them the memories that they couldn’t have had any other way…because she does it with love. No matter who she is photographing, she thinks about what they will want to remember about the moment, and gives them just that.

There is so much more I could say about Liz, but anyone who knows her, already knows these things. She has made her mark on this place, and it will never be the same again, because she left each moment better than she found it. And because of who she is, she will keep doing that for the next students, and for the family too. I love you Liz, and I’m very proud of all you have accomplished!!

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