WESTBY, Wis. -- When you step into Mr. Dave Nelson's Westby High School English class, you have to come prepared.
You're also expected to bring with you the responsibility to your own education.
"He's a hard teacher, but he's definitely preparing us for college," one student says.
"He's not taking us by the hand and leading us through everything," says another student. "He's just giving us the stuff and letting us go on our own."
"Language Arts are certainly all about life skills," Nelson says. "How well you communicate, how well you write, how well you speak. Your body language."
And Mr. Nelson knows learning is a two-way street.
"I want to show these kids I'm invested in their lives," Nelson says. "I'm invested in their success. I want to help them improve."
His work as a Language Arts teacher is to challenge his students above and beyond just reading and writing.
"I love having student personally relate to the literature we read. It is one of the themes in all of my classes. Somehow, some way I want to foster student connections."
In addition to his commitment to his students in the classroom, Nelson is at every school function or activity.
"I want to recognize students not only for their academic achievements and growth, but for their social and personal growth as well," Nelson says.
"He's very passionate about his job and you can tell because it reflects in his students because he always inspires them,"
"A lot of kids look up to him."
"I learn from them every single day," Nelson says. "I'm humbled and honored to be able to have this job. And I'm so fortunate to be able to get to know them as families, as people as students and as citizens who invest in this community."