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Teacher Feature: Hendricks Goes Extra Miles for Sports Loving Student

Dickinson 3rd grader's school and family team help fulfill his dream.

“I liked going fast. Really fast!” says Carter Pankratz. The Dickinson Elementary School 3rd grader completed the Bellin Run– his first 10K– on June 8.

Despite chilly, rainy race day weather, Carter was ready to go. He had been to and experienced a De Pere High School track and field team practice and wanted a piece of the action. Outfitted in his Buzz Lightyear suit and extra rain gear, Carter and his parents, Amanda and Brian Pankratz, made their way to the Bellin Run starters’ corral on Webster Avenue in Green Bay. There they met up with Chris and Ashley Hendricks. 

Teacher Ashely Hendricks, Carter Pankratz and teacher Chris Hendricks (l-r)

Teacher Ashley Hendricks, Carter Pankratz and teacher/coach Chris Hendricks (l-r)

Chris is a 4th grade teacher at Dickinson and a coach for the De Pere High School Cross Country, Track and Field teams. His wife, Ashley, was Carter’s 2nd grade homeroom teacher at Dickinson last year. Together during the school year, Ashley and Chris encouraged Carter’s interest in running and other sports. They worked with Carter’s parents to schedule a visit to a high school practice and meet so he could see what “the big kids” do. Chris and Carter regularly met up in the hallways of Dickinson for a quick race and a Carter-sized hug.

On race day their roles changed. With help from Green Bay-based myTEAM TRIUMPH, Carter, who was born with Down’s Syndrome, became a Team Captain. Chris served as Carter’s “Angel,” pushing Carter’s adaptive race chair along the Bellin course and across the finish line. Amanda, Ashley and a host of friends, family and supporters were loud, lively cheerleaders at different spots on the route. Nearly 8,000 people participated as runners or walkers in the event, which winds through Green Bay and Allouez.

“My days of running races for time or place are winding down,” says Chris. “Working with myTEAM TRIUMPH so Carter could experience the feeling of crossing that finish line was as exciting to me as any race I’ve run alone.”

Chris Hendricks runs pushing Carter Pankratz in his specialized race chair

Volunteers from myTeamTriumph talk with teacher/coach Chris Hendricks during the Bellin Run

myTEAM TRIUMPH is a not-for-profit whose mission is to provide support for people with abilities and disabilities to come together in training, racing, and social events. The organization provides adaptive chairs and other necessary equipment to athletes at no cost. Chris and Carter trained with the adaptive chair for several weeks before race day. Carter even attended additional practices at myTEAM TRIUMPH’s warehouse location in Howard.

“At first, with the large crowd, he was a little intimidated,” says Amanda. “But once they got rolling, he had a great time and came across the finish line with a huge smile on his face.”

Brian, Carter and Amanda Pankratz (l to r)

Brian, Carter and Amanda Pankratz (l-r)

What’s next for the active 8-year-old, who loves swimming and gymnastics as well as running?

“A triathlon!” he says with a grin. “I’m a really good swimmer.”
 

DPHS Alumni On The Fly logo

Patrick Moeller (DPHS ’20) is just a few steps away from traveling the world and putting his multiple engineering degrees to work solving companies’ manufacturing automation challenges. 

What a difference five years makes.

“In high school, I did not believe that I could be successful in college, and I wasn’t sure if it was the right path for me,” Moeller said. “Luckily, I had a few teachers who believed in me and pushed me to go to college. Having their support inspired me to do so.”

“The feeling of ‘I don’t belong here’ is something most people will experience at some point in their lives and careers. I’ve learned this is a good thing because most of the time it means you are on the road to success.” 

“Feeling the ‘impostor syndrome’ means you’ve challenged yourself enough to be outside your comfort zone which is the first step in personal and professional development.”

Patrick Moeller shaking hands w MI Tech Dept Chair

The Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) senior will be completing his two degrees in April of 2025. His leadership roles during his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology and interest in business inspired his second: A Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management. In April, Moeller was named the 2024 Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Scholar. This award recognizes a student’s academic achievement, leadership, integrity, safety and innovation.

He's also garnered a host of additional academic and leadership awards and opportunities at Michigan Tech, including: receiving a National Science Foundation-sponsored ETS-IMPRESS scholarship; participating in the Pavlis Honors College; and being selected for the first annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) S-STEM REC Scholars Conference in Washington, D.C. Moeller has served as an orientation team leader, campus tour guide, teaching assistant and learning center coach, and is the President of the Delta Zeta Chapter of Epsilon Pi Tau International Honor Society. Through these leadership roles, he has inspired others to take charge of their future and step outside of their comfort zones. 

Throughout Moeller’s college career he has completed internships at Georgia-Pacific and Milwaukee Tool. This summer, he will return to Milwaukee Tool for his second internship opportunity with the company as an Automation Engineering intern. 

“Even if you don’t think you can, just go for it,” advises Moeller.  “Thankfully, I listened to several of my De Pere High School teachers-- Mrs. Ryba in tech ed, Mr. Johnson in physics and my math teacher Mr. Belter—who all saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself at the time. Now I’m on the verge of my dream career, ready to travel the world and put my skills to use. Don’t let fear stand in your way.”

Contact Patrick Moeller via LinkedIn