Student's View

‘Best science teacher I have ever had’

Student talks about impact on her and other students on learning teacher has cancer

Special to The CambrianJanuary 31, 2013 

I had heard rumors that Kambria Doherty, my former science teacher at Santa Lucia Middle School, was suffering complications from the birth of her third child. I was concerned, but didn’t worry too much until I logged into Facebook one morning over winter break and found something absolutely devastating — a page entitled “Kambria Wesch-Doherty Battles Cancer.”

I clicked on the link, hoping the article would tell of how she courageously won the battle. To my utter disbelief, the article detailed her fight with a rare and very aggressive form of cancer called neuroendocrine carcinoma.

I sat for a moment, physically incapable of movement. My mom asked what was wrong, and when I told her, she was equally devastated. Mrs. Doherty had been a big part of my middle school experience and was one of my favorite teachers.

Mrs. Doherty is, without a doubt, the best science teacher I have ever had. She sets the bar high, and pushes each and every student to reach that bar. The study habits she instilled in me help me to this day.

Kylie Castle, a senior at Coast Union High School, says, “Mrs. Doherty was one of the most organized teachers I’ve ever had. I learned a lot from her because of that.”

Fellow senior Bennett McManus says, “Mrs. Doherty set the standard for what embodies an excellent teacher, and now I compare all my science teachers to her. She was a 10.”

Kambria Doherty finds ways to make science more interesting and appealing to her students. Courtney Castle, a sophomore at Coast, says, “She’s the one who inspired my love for science and made me want to achieve success in high school.”

The only thing Mrs. Doherty may love more than science is her students.

Maryn Steeb, an eighth-grader at Santa Lucia, says, “She cares about your home life, not just your school life. She always tries to show up to school events and support her students. She loves talking to her students, and always wants to know what’s going on at school.”

Mrs. Doherty makes herself available to students after school for help in any subject. Steeb continues, “She helped me last year when I fell behind in math” and she attributes Mrs. Doherty for helping her get back on track.

Kambria Doherty is one of those teachers that makes a lasting impression on all who are fortunate enough to know her or be her students. Her eighth-grade physical science class helped inspire me to pursue a career in the sciences.

Our town, in usual Cambria fashion, is already mobilizing to help Mrs. Doherty (see end of this story for details). I hope everyone will join me in supporting this kind, caring and brilliant woman.

Alexandra Zaragoza is now a senior at Coast Union High School.

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