Doug Yaw has been teaching upper-level Math at Northstar Christian Academy for 35 years. He likes the smaller class sizes because he can make connections with students. John Burrell graduated in the class of 1981.
"He was a great teacher, a great friend and after all these years I've never forgot[ten] everything he's done for me," John said.
Now 32 years later, John wanted to thank Mr. Yaw. When John was in high school, life at home was not so great. Doug Yaw knew he could help.
"There wasn't really a man figure in his life and I was glad to be a mentor and to show him that people care," Doug said.
John is now a retired Greece Police officer and he has always been grateful for Doug Yaw- the lessons he taught and for his friendship when he needed it most.
"I love him. I do," John said.
"Well I tell you what. That's why I teach. I love my kids and I want them to be successful," Doug said.
"He's not only a teacher, he's a friend and he becomes a friend to his students; and they love him and we do too," principal Rob Johnson said.
"I appreciate Channel 8 being interested in the profession of teachers and looking for good ones. I've always strived to be one. I don't know if I've always been one, but I've always strived to be one." he said.
Below is the letter that John sent to us:
Dear News 8,
My name is John Burrell, and I am a former student of Doug Yaw who works at North Star Christian Academy. I graduated in 1981, but I have never forgotten Mr.Yaw.
Times have really changed and the things we did together would never fly today, and I am so thankful it was accepted at that time. He took interest in me because of the new principal Nick Fabry introduced us. I was never good at math and because of the interest he took in me, math became fun to me. He taught me the basics that I actually used as my careers took off. If it weren't for him, I would have never succeeded just on the math alone. He took time to get to know me and my home life, which was not good at the time. Coming from a broken home he went the extra yard to know what made me tick. And after over 30 years I have never forgotten it, and still admire him and wanted to thank him and make him recognized for his service as a teacher.
Personally he took time out of his family for just me. He took me to the Buffalo Sabres over 27 times during my last years in high school. Like I said it would not fly today, and that is sad. But with his own money we went almost every Thursday to see the games, even in the snow. He paid for the food, tolls and Burger King. He was there as a friend as well as a teacher, and he meant so much to me, and I know a lot of other students. A good Christian man, friend and teacher.