Teacher of the Year: An Astonishing Accomplishment

El Modena teacher Vicki Mull receives Orange Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year Award.


 It is 7:30 in the morning on a regular school day and zero period classes are just about to begin. The classroom is silent until the energetic 90’s music begins to play. In all of her radiance, the teacher with the iconic evergreen jacket and unforgettable blonde hair walks into the classroom. Her posture is straight, her head held high, and her smile is bright and ambitious.

   Towards the end of Spirit Week (a schoolwide event amongst the classes), Mull received news that would forever remind her of the impact she has made as a teacher. At first, she was awarded Teacher of the Year at El Modena. As time progressed, Mull was notified once more that she had received Teacher of the Year in the whole District. Out of the myriad of teachers within the District, our Mrs. Mull won the top prize. 

   Mrs. Mull first made her debut as an English/Dance teacher at Orange High School in 1997. Her teaching style was as fluid as her pirouettes in the Dance room. She was always there for her students as academic and moral support. Mull spent seven years as a Panther teaching all levels of English and dance as well as advising their dance team before becoming a Vanguard.

   Her transition from being a Panther to becoming a Vanguard began in the 2005-2006 school year. She continued to teach English and eventually became the AP English Literature and Composition teacher as well as EMTV advisor. Over the years, she became the advisor for El Modena’s cheer program, the Peer Assistance Leadership program, and advised each grade level as well as numerous clubs.   

   The bonds she makes with her students last for a lifetime. Mull’s consistent storytelling provides a sense of relatability, which allows her to connect with her students on a personal level.

   Daniel Jo (12) admires her dedication to teaching, no matter the circumstance. “From the first day of class, I realized that Mrs. Mull has a passion for English and El Modena and truly cares for each of her students. I loved the consistency she had in her teaching, from the first day of meeting new students to online meetings during the COVID-19 crisis. I appreciate the sacrifice and work she has put in for us this year even if the year did not turn out as planned.”   

  Zoe Bentley (12) is very thankful to have Mrs. Mull as a teacher and inspiration. “Mrs. Mull has been one of my greatest inspirations and I will thank her for the rest of my life for being the amazing teacher she is. Not only was she amazing at her job, but she also made sure to be there for her students in any way they may need.”

   Cassidy Keays (12) enjoys her crafty curriculum. “Mrs. Mull encourages conversation and individualism with her creative assignments and cultivates meaningful relationships with students throughout the year.”

   Valedictorian Jacob Rodriguez (12) is very glad to have had a teacher like Mrs. Mull. “She was the teacher that showed me my story is everything; And that my background was never something I should never be ashamed of.” 

   Mrs. Mull’s love for English, her students, and her school will never diminish. That love will only continue to grow. Ralph Waldo Emerson has famously stated that “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch Or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!” Mrs. Mull, you have truly succeeded with dedication to the well being of each and every one of your students. 

   In addition to AP Lit and EMTV, Mrs. Mull will advise the Journalism program next year. At the end of a school day, the Teacher of the Year with the iconic evergreen jacket and unforgettable blonde hair left with a straight posture, a mind flowing with satisfaction and confidence, and a smile filled with compassion and sincerity. 


Word Count: 732


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