Students create touching tribute to Edina teacher in time of need

EDINA, Minn. – During this teacher appreciation week, one Edina teacher is feeling the love in a time she needed it most.

Her students recently unveiled "The Secret Love Project for Mrs. Froehlich."

In a four minute You Tube Video, dozens of students detail how Jessica Froehlich, an Edina High School AP World literature, dance and theater teacher changed their lives.

"I think the most important thing is you helped me remember I loved to read and it's okay to love to read," said one student.

"You taught me how to love myself," said another.

Alec Fischer, a former student, and now a University of Minnesota sophomore, teamed up with another former classmate when they learned Mrs. Froehlich's husband's cancer had worsened, leaving him hospitalized.

"She really inspired me to follow my passions. It's something she deserved to hear," said Fischer. "One of the things I believe in is showing gratitude is one of the keys to happiness. On both ends. It gave me happiness for her to see how she meant to everyone in her life."

The video popped up on Mrs. Froehlich's Facebook page in March after dance class.

"I clicked on it to play and honestly at first I couldn't believe they were talking about me," she said. "Once I realized what it was I just dropped my head down on my desk and started crying because I couldn't believe it."

More than 70 students as far away as Paris and Spain left heartfelt messages, saying Mrs. Froehlich encouraged them find their passion and voice. They repeatedly emphasized how she helped them fit in and find something they love.

"You are never going to get wealthy teaching," said Mrs. Froehlich. "But, I showed it to my mom and my husband and my son and we all just started crying and I said, this makes me feel rich. So much better than money to receive that love back."

Her husband Steve, 48, has a cancer that started at the base of his tongue and spread. After a clinical trial at the U of M, he's lived eight years past an advanced diagnosis. The cancer continues to take his strength leaving him on oxygen and a feeding tube.

"The darkest moments are when he's in the ICU and I'm by myself and I feel really alone. That's something I can have forever I can pick back up and know I'm not alone," said Mrs. Froehlich.

It's what Fischer had hoped. He's also been recognized with multiple awards for producing "Minnesota Nice?" a documentary on bullying in schools. He hoped the latest video for his favorite teacher could lift her up during the difficult times still ahead.

"I saw a story in it, a narrative we could take it with. It was something really moving for me and every time I would watch it I would get goose bumps, even though I was editing over and over again," said Fischer.

Mrs. Froehlich said this gift is better than any award she will ever receive in her teaching career.

"Having the kids recognize me this way makes me understand moments are in the classroom that have nothing to do with the subject I am trying to teach. It really has to do with acknowledging somebody's humanity," she said.

Watch the video and see, how the love of a teacher can change the course of life.


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