Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Former Student
September 13, 2012 | 02:23 PM

After many years, I find it amazing to stumble across an article about one of the greatest influences in my life. Ms. Norton, was what we called her at the time, was my high school communications teacher as well as speech. She was involved with our high school forensics team as well as coaching our track team. I was one of the lucky ones that was able to graduate high school before she moved on to her next chapter of life.
Ms. Norton was an amazing communicator with the students, and she did so with such enthusiasm and passion. I remember doing a demonstration speech sometime in mid-semester, sophomore or junior year. I was sharing the secrets of making a great egg roll. Well, I was probably 16 at the time and I didn't really know how to keep a conversation going while cooking or even less, provide details and knowledge of the task without using verbal pauses between key components. I remember her saying, Mike, why so many "UMs", I didn't even remember saying one "Um" throughout the speech, but I guess there was probably some where between 150 to 300 "Ums" in a 5 minute speech. From that day I consciously worked on my abilities of public speaking, presentations and I really worked on eliminating those "Ums" throughout high school, college and various post collegiate positions to become what I feel (and have been told) is a passionate and pretty darn good public speaker/presenter. I owe that and so much more to Ms. Norton. She was and is such an amazing, caring and passionate educator and Fontana is so lucky to have her as their Principal. I still have a shirt from the Dinosaur Dash Spring 1994 down in Milwaukee that I ran with her and her husband. It is one of my favorite shirts and I would think about her each time I put it on wondering where she is and what her life has become. I am very happy to have come across this article and very happy to see that her life, since we last talked, has been a great success(not a surprise). I was very lucky to have met her at such a significant time in my life and so blessed to have had her influence mold me into who I am today. Congrats on the new job Ms. Norton.

Your old friend and student,

Mike Thiede

Mike Thiede
Sun Prairie