VAIL, AZ (Tucson News Now) - With two decades of teaching under her belt, Gretchen Stickney knows math is a tough subject for many students.
One of the classes that she teaches is honors precalculus.
It is a challenging class, but Stickney keeps her students moving toward success.
Using techniques from the hokey pokey to competitive games, Stickney likes to change things up.
"We do games; we sing; we dance; we do whatever we can to keep it exciting," Stickney said.
The energy she brings is contagious.
"She makes you full of energy and she gets you working and she makes you feel involved," Junior Antonio Camacho said.
Audora Rienzl said, "I kind of like feed off her energy, so that makes me more excited to learn."
At first, Rienzl wasn't looking forward to class.
"I wouldn't say my strong suit is math, so going into an honors math class I was a little worried," she said.
But she says Stickney doesn't just teach her students, she helps them grow.
"They're inspired to actually learn math. They're intrigued by it," Audora said.
"What I like to do is take a kid where they are when they come to me and grow them as much as I can," Stickney said.
From problem solving to critical thinking, teens are picking up crucial skills for the future.
"(I) try to teach them that skill of preserving, because that's what they're going to need. Even if they never divide polynomials ever again," Stickney said.
The students may never again use some of the material, but they will leave with new-found confidence.
"She really makes sure you strive for success in what you're supposed to be learning," Camacho said.
Stickney said, "They give me the energy. They're the ones who inspire me. They're the ones that give me the energy to keep going."
Stickney has taught in four different states but she says Cienega stands out.
She says the staff at Cienega is great at connecting with the kids and that makes all the difference.