If the overall success of a teacher is marked by the impact made on her students, Brenda Cooper will easily be remember as one of the greatest to ever grace the halls of La Porte High School. The beloved English teacher at LPHS is full of spunk, positivity, and love for her students, making her this week’s La Porte County Life in the Spotlight.
Cooper, a teacher for over 20 years, originally received a bachelor’s degree in Apparel Merchandising from Indiana University and lived in Indianapolis for a few years after graduation. After some time, she realized that this was not the path she was meant to travel down. It was then the thought of getting into education began to speak loudly to her.
“After a few years in Indy, I felt like there had to be more. It wasn’t very fulfilling. My mom was a teacher, so I knew what it was all about. I had never thought about it before then, but it became very appealing. I was excited about being able to make a difference,” Cooper said.
Cooper moved home and landed a position teaching English at her alma mater, La Porte High School. To say the move into education was a good fit would be quite the understatement. She found every day to be a new adventure, but more than anything, it was the relationships she formed with her students that solidified her choice to become a teacher.
“I enjoy interacting with the students every day. There are so many good people. Also, when a student struggles with a concept in English, a personal matter, a relationship, or at home and they find success, it’s so great to see that. Even if I didn’t have anything to do with the victory, it’s quite a feeling to see him or her succeed. I genuinely like kids and put a lot of effort into doing my job well,” Cooper added.
This passion for kids quickly made Mrs. Cooper one of the most adored teachers at LPHS. In a job that government leaders have essentially turned kids into numbers, Cooper refuses to see herstudents as anything less than the incredible people they are; this has resonated with the students because each kid knows that, if nothing else, Mrs. Cooper will be in his/her corner. Every morning her room is filled with students who come to say hi, need a laugh, want a friendly face to start their day with, or seek a shoulder to lean on. Cooper plays that role for so many LPHS students.
“Mrs. Cooper is awesome. Talking to her during Success Period is the highlight of my day. She makes me feel like I can do anything I put my mind to. She cheers me up on any rough day I have. She is always there to give us a laugh and truly cares about the students at LPHS,” senior Megan Berchem said.
All one needs to do is spend five minutes around Cooper to see what makes her loved by so many. Her happy demeanor and love for her job make students file in joyfully into a usually dreaded class. The happiness in her classroom is palpable.
“I’m a generally happy person, and I really like my job. I’ve had students ask me why I’m so happy ALL the time. I say, ‘Why not?’” Cooper added.
When she isn’t teaching, being sophomore class sponsor, or hosting major school events, Cooper is soaking up as much time as she can with her family. She and her husband Greg have two incredible children who keep the two busy attending sporting events. While she excels as a teacher, her best role is being a mom.
All this, and so much more, make Brenda Cooper a La Porte County Life in the Spotlight. There are so few people, not just teachers, like her. She makes everyone around her realize how fun and incredible life could be if they just choose to see it that way. The amount of lives she has touched is countless, and the legacy she has created is one to be deeply admired.
What do the students think of Mrs. Cooper?
“Mrs. Cooper is a very likeable teacher because she is very friendly and welcoming to everyone. She makes class fun and treats everyone fairly. She is a friendly face that all students can trust.” –B. Severs
“Mrs. Cooper is the best person I know, and it’s impossible to not smile around her, and that makes her special. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, and she puts everyone else first. She’s just a great person, and it’s hard to even explain it.” –L. Sprouse
“I LOVE Mrs. Cooper because she always looks to brighten others’ days and life experiences with positive words of wisdom and humor.” –S.Vaughn
“I like Mrs. Cooper because she makes learning fun. She’s a teacher you can tell that likes her job. Cooper actually cares about her students and is always making sure that we’re having a good day. You can tell she does her best and is a teacher who will admit when she’s messed up. She’s always peppy and cares about our school. She’s a kid at heart and one of the best teachers at LPHS.” –C. Smith
“I love Cooper because her laugh is so happy, and it makes me happy, too. She is always happy to help anyone. She’s like Mary Poppins—perfectly perfect in every way.” –A. Pilecki
"I love that she believes in all of her students unconditionally and always makes an effort to get to know them as people." --C. Swanson