Larry Wilson teaches language arts at East Anchorage High School. He wants his students to form a deep understanding of the texts they read through discussion and art.

"We spend a lot of time reading, obviously,” Wilson said. “I always try and like have them try and bring those concepts on themselves and this is just another way to make it real for them."

Wilson has been a teacher and basketball coach in the Anchorage School District for 12 years.

"When I first moved up here, I was working at Alaska Children's Services," he said. "I think that that's when I really realized that working with this age group was, like, for me."

His students say he’s a great teacher. Wilson helps them connect themes in literature with issues they may be dealing with in their lives. He makes himself available, whether it’s a question concerning curriculum or a student struggling with issues beyond school walls.

Wilson says the students' gratitude has been life-changing. When kids come back to tell him how he's impacted their lives, he feels "lucky to be a part of a lot of good people's lives."

Wilson has experienced a range of emotions with his students, from joy to sorrow. In April 2017, one of Wilson’s students was shot and killed. He offered a shoulder to students and athletes as they worked through the tragedy, while also grieving himself.

"There are lots of times when you can feel like completely alone with whatever it is that you're going through and if you're able to read, you know, this really awesome story where, you know, you have characters going through the same types of things, it really can help you feel like 'okay, this is not something that I am just going through alone,'” he said.

Wilson's main message for his students and players is to never give up.

"Things are difficult all the way around for a lot of people and I feel like resiliency is something that I really want, you know as a coach, I really want my players to be able to fight through, you know, bad calls and fight through, you know, when we're down," he said. "And the same thing in the classroom. I want them to be able to, you know, 'maybe I got a D on my math test,' but you know you got to be able to fight through that and work to improve."

Larry Wilson is KTVA’s Head of the Class.

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