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As a former North Dakotan and a 2011 graduate of Century High School, I am appalled at the raking over the coals being done to Gregg Schmidt. If not for Schmidt, I would be in a much darker place.

In 2011, before I graduated, he wrote me a letter of recommendation, which was probably groundless based on my academic and social standing. But he believes in his students and saw something in me, and now I'm a successful adult with a wonderful life and a promising career, a college degree, basically everything I could ask for. Schmidt is the definition of who a teacher should be, and has followed up with me years later to see how I am.

We're North Dakotans, we are supposed to be tough people; to put quality educators through the wringer for a few inappropriate comments is ridiculous. In short, high school is a scary place to be in life, and for me, it was the darkest point in my life. And now, I have a bright future to look forward to, and I place that in part due to Schmidt's kindness, sincere love for his job, immense care for his students, and genuine character.

Daniel Towner, Negaunee, Mich.

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