An Asheville teacher recognized as one of the region’s best told a gathering of high school students who are considering a career in the classroom that they can become teachers right now by living a full life and learning as much as they can.
The comments by Western Region Teacher of the Year Jerome Hughes (pictured at right) were delivered during Teachers of Tomorrow Day, an annual event that drew about 250 high school students to Western Carolina University’s campus on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Students came to Cullowhee from throughout the region to learn about teaching at various grade levels and to gather information about scholarships, college choice and other topics.
Hughes, the pastor of a multicultural church in Asheville who earned his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said he joined the support staff of Asheville High School in 1998 because he wanted to hear different perspectives – not because he wanted to become a teacher. Hughes said the students he came in contact with inspired him to go into teaching, and he enrolled in WCU’s Master of Arts in Teaching Program. He received his master’s degree in 2006, and now teaches English and the Advancement Via Individual Determination elective at the school.
Quoting from Patrick Henry’s famous “give me liberty or give me death” speech and from Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from the Birmingham jail, Hughes urged the students to “seize the day” – to take advantage of opportunities they have now to expand their horizons and develop their love of learning.
“Part of being a good teacher means having a love of learning, and living a full life,” Hughes said. “And so, teachers of tomorrow, I want to encourage you to seize the moment, learn as much as you can, and become a master of whatever content area you plan on teaching. Because you see – today is tomorrow.”
WCU’s Teachers of Tomorrow Day was hosted by the university’s Office for Rural Education.
Students attending came from 16 schools in the counties of Buncombe, Cherokee, Cleveland,
Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Rutherford and Swain.
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Last modified: Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2007