Mrs. Stephens outdoor photo.

As the summer of 2004 was winding down, my brother, my dad and I attended Ridgeview’s annual Back-to-School night. At ten years old, I was worried that I would have Mrs. Busek as my fifth-grade teacher. She was rumored to be more difficult than most teachers, even though she had daily “tea time” with her class.

While my dad chatted with Mr. Carpine, whom he had befriended when we first came to Ridgeview two years prior, I visited my potential classrooms. I wandered the aisles of empty, gray desks, looking for mine. Having not found my name in the other classroom, I walked into Mrs. Busek’s. She looked up from her desk and asked my name just as I saw a beautifully handwritten name tag on a desk in the back row: “Michaela

Over the next couple weeks, my anxiety gave way as I learned that Mrs. Busek was a nice woman with a terrific sense of humor, as well as high expectations. She became a friend and a mentor as much as she was my teacher. My relationship with Mrs. Busek solidified the feeling of family and sense of community that I had always felt with Ridgeview.

In my seventh grade year, Ridgeview became a more direct component of my family. My parents, the Koretko’s, had decided to move to Tennessee. However, they did not wish to remove me from a world-class education, especially when I was thriving. In an unusual twist, my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Busek, and her husband became my legal guardians. I returned to Ridgeview under their loving care for the following six years until my graduation in May 2012. Throughout that time, both sets of parents remained a source of support and encouragement, reiterating the importance of a thorough education and honorable character.

I then studied biology and journalism at Colorado State University, arguing with professors over the importance of charter schools. Less than two weeks after my CSU graduation, I proudly returned to Ridgeview as the attendance clerk because I believe in this school. My college experience reaffirmed the importance of well-rounded citizens who embody the integrity and eloquence Ridgeview cultivates among its students.


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