Meet the Teacher: Melissa Stanger, Dowagiac Union High School/Middle School

Educators are perhaps the greatest population of unsung heroes in Berrien and Cass County. This school year, Leader Publications will publish a weekly spotlight featuring teachers throughout the district, giving the community a chance to get to know the hard-working individuals shaping their children’s lives. Throughout the next school year, their answers will be published in the newspaper that serves each school district.

Name: Melissa Stanger

School: Dowagiac Union High School and Dowagiac Middle School

Grade(s)/subject(s) taught: Eighth-12th grade Spanish 1

Where did you attend college? University of Illinois — Urbana/Champaign (B.A. Teaching of Spanish), Northern Illinois University (M.A. Spanish Language and Literature)

How many years have you been teaching? How many years have you been with your current school? I have been teaching for 21 years. This is my seventh year at DMS/DUHS. I’ve also taught at a high school in Illinois, Southwestern Michigan College, St. Mary’s College and Davenport University.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? I love the Spanish language and the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, and I love sharing them with others. I also had great Spanish teachers that inspired me.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun? I love traveling, spending time with my family, reading and shopping.

What is one thing your students may not know about you? If I wasn’t a teacher, I would either be a tour guide that travels around the world with school groups, or I would open an animal rescue.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Snoopy is my favorite. He’s cute and funny.

When you were a student in the grade you teach, what were your favorite hobbies? I loved to dance — ballet, tap, jazz.

How would your co-workers describe your teaching style and personality? Hopefully they would describe me as kind and enthusiastic.

Who is your biggest role model and why? My parents are my biggest role models. They taught me to be open-minded, kind and compassionate. They always stressed the importance of doing my best.

How has education changed in the last 10 years? There are more demands on students from outside the classroom.

What is your best advice to parents to help their child continue growing academically? Be involved with your child’s education and always encourage him/her to give 110 percent.

If my students learn one thing this year, I hope it is… Be open-minded. The world is a big place with lots of different people, languages and cultures. Learn all that you can about those people and places. It will make you a more compassionate person.

Buchanan

Local provisioning centers celebrate cannabis holiday with sales, overcome software snags

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 799,140 cases, 16,986 deaths

Dowagiac

DUS to install classroom phones in elementary schools, high school

Berrien County

Berrien County 4-H Leaders Association sets annual meeting

Dowagiac

DUS Board of Education honors Class of 2021 Top 10

Buchanan

Buchanan HCU member center lands new leadership

Berrien County

United Way of Southwest Michigan invites community to honor leaders during National Volunteer Week

Buchanan

Buchanan provisioning center raises money to fight cannabis injustices

Cass County

Cass County Sheriff’s Office K9 finds home invasion, larceny suspect

Berrien County

UPDATE: Sheriff’s office finds missing Niles man

Brandywine Education

Teacher resigns after allegedly soliciting 14-year-old

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 793,881 cases, 16,901 deaths

Business

Cassopolis to welcome first marijuana dispensary

Berrien County

Merritt Elementary hosting pet supply drive for area shelters

Dowagiac

SMC psychology panel provides pandemic perspective

Berrien County

South Bend man sentenced for meth possession in Niles Township

Berrien County

GateWay Services to become Center for Growth and Independence

Buchanan

Cannavista Wellness, Common Citizen launch 420 charitable fundraiser

News

Niles Police Log: April 8-15

Dowagiac

Retired Dowagiac resident returns to teaching at 80

Cass County

Report finds problem-solving courts help lower recidivism, unemployment rates

Business

Yarn on Front owner shares how she adapted, overcame pandemic squeeze

Dowagiac

DUS graduate raising money for independent film project

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Rotary Club excited to bring ‘welcome’ sign to community