Jessica Hamilton wants her students to reach their potential and be the best they can be.

Hamilton has been a drama teacher for 20 years, mostly at St. Martin de Porres High School. She is also the school’s soccer coach and coaches for Airdrie and District Soccer Association.

“I teach and I coach because it is what I have always wanted to do and growing up in Airdrie, it has been nice giving back to my community as an adult,” says Hamilton.

“Whether in the classroom or on the soccer pitch, I have always tried my hardest to create an atmosphere of kindness and inclusion – where students and players are free to have fun, build new skills and confidence and feel loved and valued.”

She adds that the benefits of being a mentor go both ways.

“As much as I feel I push them to be their best – they also challenge me to be better and learn more,” she says.

“This year especially has shown how amazing my students are. From lockdown, to online school, to classroom learning – my students have faced the challenges of learning during COVID head on. I am so proud of how they have adapted and have done their best to see success.”

Charles Rush, assistant principal at St. Martin de Porres, nominated Hamilton for the Amazing Mentor Award, saying few individuals have her passion and devotion.

“She has taken on some of the kids, whom others find difficult to manage, because she knows they need her more than the average student,” he says.

“She takes players who would never make a team in other schools or ever get a chance to play community because they don’t have the skills, because it has nothing to do with winning and everything to do with building character.”