Davenport teacher celebrates five years on Journey to Excellence

“I don’t think I would have survived my first year without her,” said Alex Lampe, speaking about her teaching mentor, Jolene Whittemore.


During this season for graduations all over the region, it's also the reason for a special reunion at Monroe School.

"Every year is going by faster and faster," said teacher Alex Lampe, on Friday, May 26.

But this Fifth Grade graduation especially hits home for her.

"It's very cool," she continued.

That's because Alex's very first class is moving on to middle school.

"I look back on pictures that I took when they were in First Grade, and they have come such a long way."

Alex is reaching a milestone in her teaching career, completing her fifth year in the classroom.

"It's exactly what you expect it to be, and it's so different that what you expect it to be," she said.

We first met her back in 2012 and produced three stories about her first year in teaching.

"We work hard," she said at the time.  "Every day, we work hard."

The St. Ambrose University graduate was just starting out.

"It's so overwhelming, so hard and so exhausting," she said.

But this new teacher found her flow by partnering with veteran teacher Jolene Whittemore.

"Here we are, working as a mentor, mentee," Jolene said in August 2012.

Davenport's Journey to Excellence program became the source of a valuable mentorship.

"She's got the enthusiasm, spirit and the drive," Jolene said of Alex.

"I don't think I would have survived my first year without her," Alex remembered.

This mentorship is especially memorable.  That's because Jolene is retiring in coming days.

"She really teaches me to find the joy in teaching," Alex said.

Now that Jolene is retiring, she hopes to pass the torch.

"I'm hoping that some day, when she becomes advanced in the profession, that she will channel that same energy in the new teachers," Jolene said.

From our first visit five years ago, some big changes.

"Being a first year teacher, there are so many questions," Alex said in 2012.

In 2017, her career continues to soar and inspire others.

"Find the passion in every student and every day," Alex said.

A talent for teaching that will deliver a love for learning over years to come at Monroe School.