TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - From color guard to water quality, Nicole Hamilton does it all.
"She usually does a lot of labs which I really like because in my old science classroom we never really had a lot of labs," freshman Kristyann Landavazo said.
Getting that hands-on experience is key. Hamilton ties what her students are learning in the classroom to the real world.
"They've been seeing things about Flint, MI, about the importance of testing water quality. What it means for people's health. What it means for the health of ecosystems," Hamilton said.
And what it means for her students.
Leaving an impact with teens is what Hamilton hopes to do.
"She's just a joy to have around," freshman Andy Shipley said.
"She's very nice to all her students and she is so kind and she is willing to go the extra mile to help us understand the curriculum and I think that is something that not a lot of teachers will do," Landavazo said.
She helps teens like Landavazo and Shipley realize they've had the key to success all along.
"She really wants us to succeed and she works her hardest to make sure that we can," Shipley said.
"It's so exciting to watch them when they latch on to a particular part of the subject," Hamilton said.
Teaching at University High School is coming full circle for Hamilton. She graduated from the school.
"I came in, was shy, afraid to talk to anybody, wouldn't talk or raise my hand in class," Hamilton said.
Now she gets to help students going through the same experience.
"To watch other students go through that, it's what I get up for every morning. It's almost empowering to feel I made a difference to them finding their voice in the world."