Teachers share their spirit animals


Alan D. Wilson (Public Domain)

Great Blue Heron, Santee Lakes Recreational Preserve, Near San Diego, California

Adeline Sutton, Staff Writer

Ms. Eriksen, Chemistry

Spirit Animal: Great Blue Heron

Ms. Susan Eriksen, a chemistry teacher at NKHS, identifies strongly with the great blue heron, a large wading bird that can be found near open bodies of water throughout North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

A great blue heron is the animal that captures my spirit at this point in my life,”  Eriksen said. “Ever since I can remember I’ve always wanted to be able to fly as birds do… However, I’ve also always been drawn to the water, [s]o the choice of a shore bird that relies on water for its energy is no accident.”

Eriksen also added that a great blue heron makes “[p]ensive, measured movements as she waits for prey, wades through the shallows or flies overhead with long, rhythmic wing beats. The migratory nature of this bird mirrors the cyclical nature of being an educator,” she said. “Each new year [brings] a new beginning over well-worn paths.”


Ms. Roye, English

Spirit Animal: Prairie Dog

Jacob Maguire
A prairie dog stares off into the distance at Custer State Park in South Dakota.

If Ms. D’Ellen Roye, an English teacher, were an animal, she said that she would definitely be a prairie dog. “I spent a bit of my childhood in Colorado, and I would sit for hours in the high plains watching these little critters pop their heads up and down out of their tunnels,” Roye said. “I connect to them because they are high energy and kind of comical to watch as they run around from place to place–just like me!”

Roye also mentioned that, like prairie dogs, she enjoys forming close personal relationships with others and sees the importance of community. “More importantly, [prairie dogs] are very social animals and are known for building close-knit colonies that endure for generations,” Roye said. “Now that’s my kind of animal and society!”


Mr. Shaffer, Art

Spirit Animal: Wolf

Public Domain
A Mexican Gray Wolf

Mr. Bob Shaffer, an art teacher at NKHS, said that his spirit animal would be a wolf because he’s “always hungry for… stuff.”

He said that he always used to consider himself to be soaring with eagles, but acknowledged “I’m not at that point yet. I think I’m still barking at the moon.”