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Janie Lauritzen, Welby Elementary

The following was submitted by Jon P. Lauritzen.

“Janie Lauritzen has taught kindergarten at South Jordan’s Welby Elementary for 19 years. She’s that special teacher that has parents jockeying with the school administration to make sure their children get into her classes. Over the years, she has taught children with learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, and autism just to name a few.

This year she faced a whole new challenge when a legally blind child was entrusted to her care. “Andrew” could only see what was on a paper in front of him by literally putting his nose on the paper. Seeing anything beyond his desk was impossible. After researching possible solutions, Mrs. Lauritzen began petitioning the Jordan School District to requisition a CCTV system that would make a world of difference for this eager student. She succeeded in getting the system installed on Andrew’s desk. Having quickly mastered the machine’s capabilities, Andrew can now see everything that’s on his desk, and he can also articulate a camera system on the machine that allows him to see every corner of the classroom. His progress as a student was immediate, and he now challenges all of the other children in the class in his academics.

Mrs. Lauritzen realized that while Andrew had this amazing new tool at school, when he went home for the day, he faced the same challenges that had always been there for him. She began a letter writing/email campaign, requesting assistance from the Jordan Education Foundation. After several weeks of working to catch the eyes and ears of the right people, she was informed that the Foundation had partnered with Merit Medical to fully fund the additional CCTV for Andrew to use at home. The total cost of the two machines was nearly $7,000. The company that manufactures the machine had their local rep install the new unit in Andrew’s home, and he did a tutorial to show Andrew some tricks that he hadn’t discovered yet.

Mrs. Lauritzen and Andrew are being featured at a Jordan Education Foundation luncheon at the Jordan Applied Technology Center in Draper. I thought this could be a great “feel good” story that only KSL would do justice to. I freely admit my own bias toward this teacher. She’s been my wife for 40 years. Although all her students and their parents regularly tell her what a difference she has made in their lives, very few of them know what she does to be so loved. She is at the school by 6:45 every morning and she usually makes it home by 6:00 in the evening. She enjoys some dinner and then goes back to work on kindergarten. For 19 years, she has invested anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 of her salary to supply her students with the tools she thinks are essential to their experience in kindergarten, and to lay a foundation for her kids to succeed as they move into the upper grades. Most important of all, she LOVES the children, and the children know it.”