My niece, Elizabeth “Liz” Masterson is a remarkable woman, and you will hear the same statement from anyone who knows her. Liz is a journalism teacher at Kelly Walsh High School and has been teaching since 2004…first at Natrona County High School, and then back to her Alma Mater…Kelly Walsh High School. She is a favorite among her students and stays in touch with many of them. They all truly love her, and every so often, Liz hears a story about herself from fellow teachers and students, that takes her by surprise, because Liz is not one to “toot her own horn” or even to realize how amazing she is.

While Elizabeth was at dinner the other night with two of her teacher friends, one told her that she had overheard two of her students talking about Elizabeth, and “how great she is!” Being the very down-to-earth person she is, Elizabeth is always surprised and shocked to hear this kind of thing. It’s a compliment, but it embarrasses her a little, too. The teacher heard a teenage girl tell the guy she was talking with that she had just been introduced to “Ms. Mast” (the name the students have given her over the years) so that Elizabeth could give her a little help on a project, and that it was literally like she had experienced a “celebrity encounter!” These were the student’s own words. This was the, albeit “dramatic,” conversation overheard by a teacher, between two kids talking to each other, but these were this young lady’s feelings.

What my sister, Cheryl Masterson, who is Liz’s mom, so enjoyed about this “celebrity encounter” story is that it is not only hilarious, but also sweet. In the family, we have all been impressed with Liz’s ability to connect with and mentor her students, but seeing it through the eyes of a young lady who had only known OF Elizabeth before…a young lady who was very pleased that she was now able to actually know her…a young lady who had entered “Elizabeth’s circle,” so to speak, was well…awe inspiring. It’s a very small thing in the world of life events, but for this young lady…she knew that she had experienced a “celebrity encounter” and it made her day! In fact, the event so impressed her, that she and her friend were still talking about it when they got to this teacher’s classroom!

Cheryl is certain that Elizabeth’s friend laughingly, and lovingly, rolled her eyes, but still it was very endearing for her, as Elizabeth’s good friend, to hear, and to pass such a sweet story to Elizabeth. As the journalism teacher, who also creates the school newspaper and the school yearbook with her students, Elizabeth tirelessly attends nearly every single function and school event the school has. All sports events, all dances, all activities of any kind. She takes pictures of all the events, and of all the kids at these events, and she gives all that she has to these students all school year long. The students and parents see it and appreciate it! Truly, Elizabeth is a fixture at her school. She is chosen almost every single year by some student as their favorite and most influential teacher, and recognized for that, among other teachers, at a special dinner the schools have, every year. Whether she knows all the kids or not, they ALL know her! She has a reputation among the students as being salty, sassy, and no-nonsensical, but a lot of fun to be around, and they learn a lot from her! She is one of a kind! She is blessed and she is a blessing to others.

Elizabeth’s students often go on to great things, but some stand out just a little bit more than others, like Meagan Degenfelder, who was just elected as Wyoming’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. It was a proud moment for Elizabeth, as her former teacher too, and she was invited to attend the inauguration, and also had the opportunity to meet Wyoming’s Governor Mark Gordon at the inauguration gala.

Liz loves teaching and all her students, but she is also a well-rounded person. She loves going to concerts, and has attended approximately ten with her sister, Jenny, but Liz has attended hundreds more with friends, students, and her other sisters. She is a great aunt, who has taken nieces and nephews to movies and games, and has showed up for them on their birthdays and all accomplishments. She is an amazing mentor for her nieces and nephews as well. Liz not only teaches young people how to be successful in all they do, but she lives what she teaches too. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! We love you and we are very proud of you!!

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