Human of West: Melissa Wallace/Bertelsen


Hannah Andrews

Melissa Wallace/Bertelsen is a social studies and psychology teacher that represents the meaning of authenticity.

Hannah Andrews, News Editor

It’s a chilly Saturday, and rows of chairs placed on either side of the aisle. Gusts of wind blow anything and everything around. That’s how Melissa Wallace or should we say, Bertelsen spent her wedding day three weeks ago. Outside in the cold, surrounded by her family and friends.

A trip to Minneapolis to see her best friend turned into something more than what she expected, seeing as her best friend’s cousin is now her husband.

“I was visiting my childhood friend in Minneapolis and I happened to be single at the time,” Wallace said. “I casually said to her, ‘As my oldest friend I think you have an obligation to set me up with someone.’ She became very excited and called her cousin right away. She told me that she had been planning this in her head for years. I had met him before and thought that he was very clever. He happened to be on a date at the time, but drove 80 miles to go out on a date with me the next night.”

Wallace uses the word “reliable” to describe herself, while friend of 10 years and colleague Katie Choate uses the word “real”.

“[Wallace] is real,” Choate said. “She is real with her students, friends and her family. She is exactly who she is all of the time and doesn’t hide who she is.”

Wallace is a social studies and psychology teacher. As a teacher, Wallace has a strong passion for teaching and for her students.

“I hope students look back and think ‘I enjoyed her class andI learned something’,” Wallace said. “I love it when students are engaged in the material, when I can see them have an ‘ah ha’ moment. Sometimes it is as simple as ‘I like this class because I learn stuff’.”

Junior Carter Wheeler has been a student of Wallace’s since his freshman year. Being in her advisory along with every single one of her history classes and psychology class, Wheeler has experienced who Wallace is as a teacher.

“It was my freshmen year and I was going into advisory expecting it to be a normal class,” Wheeler said. “But then [Wallace] started talking and she never held back what she said. She’s always been laid back, but in her own way.”

If you ever have the opportunity to take one of Wallace’s classes, be prepared for the realness that Wallace, now Bertelsen, embodies.