KINGSFORD, Mich. (WJMN) – Each week, Sports Zone highlights a variety of student-athletes, but you can’t have student-athletes without the teachers who helped get them to where they are today. As a way to say thank you to the teachers who have made an impact on their lives, the Flivver football seniors decided to do something special to show teachers how much they really mean to them.

“So we have a win, win, win program in football,” Sawyer Pugh said. “The first win is the win in the classroom so everyone has got to have good grades and everyone has got to keep up with their schoolwork. The second win is winning in the community and giving back to everyone else for supporting us. The third win is winning on the football field. We took part in our second win and we decided all of the seniors would go back to a past teacher and give them their jersey in appreciation for what they have done for us.”

Each senior with their jersey in hand, set out to show their appreciation to someone who means so much to each of them.

“I picked Mr. Christesen,” Pugh said. “He’s always there for me. He’s got my phone number, texting me all the time, and seeing how I am doing. He’s always keeping in touch with how I am doing in sports, how I am doing in school, and just making sure I am doing okay.”

Even though Pugh had Mr. Christesen as a teacher 5 years ago, he still wanted to make sure he showed his gratitude to someone who helped shaped him into the person he is today.

“I can’t really put it into words honestly, it really just meant the world,” Tom Christesen a Social Studies Teacher at Kingsford Middle School said. “I tried to explain to him how much it meant but it was really hard to explain. You get kids in class all the time and you love all of your kids and when they come back with something like that to express a thank you even though he is a senior now and I had him in 7th grade, and when he was in 6th grade for youth football, to show that appreciation, you can’t really put it into words. I was just over the moon….I still am!”

No matter what stage in life these educators made an impact, it’s a reminder to them that their hard work never goes unnoticed.

“So before our homecoming game, our coach told us to pick someone who really made an impact on our lives as a teacher and I gave my jersey to Mrs. Sturm because I thought she was really the one who impacted me the most,” Brody Kopp said. “Last year I went through a kinda rough stage in my life and she was right there for me that whole time and that is what really made her stand out.”

“I was obviously very touched and you don’t do things expecting people to recognize you or anything and the fact that he did, kinda proves what a great young man he is,” Susan Sturm a Mechatronics Instructor at the Dickinson Iron Technical Education Center said. “He said something about tearing up because it is about one of the nicest things somebody could say is that you positively affected their life.”

Their relationship goes far beyond the classroom and is something both of them will forever cherish.

“She means a lot to me,” said Kopp. “She’s really kinda like my mom here at school and just helps me out a lot.”

“I think of him so highly and how he took adversity, turned it around, pulled himself up, and really became a better student than what he was before,” Sturm said. “To have someone like him pick me makes it mean even more special because I look up to him and so when someone like that picks you, it really means something. I was like the little kid going home going, ‘Look what I got you guys to look what I got!’ And my son that graduated three years ago from Kingsford said, ‘Boy, I wish we would’ve had the opportunity to do that for our teachers.’ So it is a very positive thing and just another way to tell the teachers thank you because you don’t always take the time to do that and I was beyond flattered and honored.”