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Passion for the Past

Mrs. Morris's love for history continues to grow.

By Stephanie Garcia

Morris enjoying her time outside.

Most people have something they’re passionate about. Whether it's a game, an artist, a person, a sport, a hobby, or a subject. They have a special connection to their passion as it is significant to them. 

Danielle Morris, a history teacher at Rialto High School, has a strong passion for the past. Morris teaches U.S. History, and AP U.S. History to juniors, and used to teach AP World History during the 2021-2022 school year to sophomores. 

Although her interest in history wasn’t always there. Back in high school, Morris hated the subject. Her teacher made her read PowerPoints and taught in a way that didn’t interest her. After having a bad relationship with history, during her first year in college, while taking an Ancient Greek History class, she was taken aback by the professor's way of teaching. 

“He told history like a story,” Morris shares. 

By his way of telling the past like a story, she was interested in learning more and more, little by little. However, her love for the subject has just begun. Morris shares, “I love puzzles. Like puzzle pieces, there are so many patterns in history. We study the past and see patterns emerge like war, economic collapse, dictatorship, and we can predict what might happen now because it has already happened.” 

As her love for puzzles connects with her love for history it allows her to have an understanding of the way it is. Her thought process is putting pieces of history together to come to a greater understanding of current events and how they relate to what has happened before. Morris connected Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to Hitler’s invasion of Poland as the two both had similar motives for invasion. As Hitler started World War II could it be Putin's invasion of Russia to start World War III? 

“Old stuff predicts other things because it’s happened before,” Morris states. Not only has this brought her a successful career but her love for the subject continues in her love for teaching it. Being a history teacher has had a positive impact on her mental health. Having as many as 180 students every year sounds challenging but to her, her main goal is being able to get them to see the patterns in history and know how to make connections in our current world. 

As the next generation, students are the ones in charge of how our future government will continue to function. Seeing her students being able to make those connections and see the patterns makes her feel like she’s making a difference and has done her job to the best of her abilities. 

Morris explains how she doesn’t want her students to memorize certain facts and how she doesn’t want her students to hate the class. Morris is focused on having kids want to continue with that urge to learn more but even if they don’t the least is having them not hate the subject by the time they leave her class. 

One of Morris’s quotes she goes by is, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou. 

History has made a positive impact not just because of her students, but because it’s allowed her to feel knowledgeable about what has happened in the past and tie it into our current world. Her realization of becoming a history teacher didn’t come as simple. Her initial plan was to study law and after law, she was found considering something in the medical field, but her interest in history remained. 

That Ancient Greece class never left her mind, after taking it she developed a mini relationship and she just knew she loved studying it. However, it wasn’t till her last year of college that brought her to the decision to become a teacher. Although, her passion for the past has developed from what was once a disinterest, the love and determination in her spirit continue to grow as her love for history does too. 


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