Your education/degree: Elementary Education
School from which you earned your degree(s): UCF
Length of time teaching: 6 Years
Length of time teaching at HT: 6 Years
How do you feel you can help students to “Start Here. Go Anywhere.” ?
I feel that I can lead as an example since I graduated from Holy Trinity. This school opened possibilities for me to be able to go anywhere! However, I chose to come back here so that I could help students realize their abilities and intelligence.
What motivated you to become a teacher?
I became a teacher because I wanted to show students how fun learning can be. I wanted students to feel comfortable in my class and to be excited about coming to school. Young students are so wonderful because their potential is so great! They are capable of doing whatever they set their mind to. I wanted to ultimately play a part in that experience. My elementary teachers were strong, funny, and nurturing. They stood up for me at the playground and validated my opinions. To do that for another child is hard to pass up!
What experiences or people have had the most influence on you?
My father and mother have most influenced me because they are the absolute best. I understand that everyone claims to have the best parents, but they have not met Mr. Rich and Colleen Hargraves. They loved me, cared for me, and shaped my character by walking the talk. They worked hard in their job and in our home. My dad is my best friend. He listens when I talk and provides scripture to help me in hard times. He has a great sense of humor and he knows how to make me laugh. He is respected and loved by his fellow police officers and he has always made me feel safe. My mom is nurturing and tough at the same time. She knew how to take care of me when I was truly sick and she also knew when to give me a good kick in the butt. I deserved it. She also has a wonderful sense of humor and she is always there to laugh at my jokes. They both made me who I am today.
What do you love about teaching? And/or teaching at HT?
I love teaching at Holy Trinity because of the students, parents, and faculty. It is the combination that make this atmosphere out of the world! The students have talents and unique abilities in a plethora of areas. They make my school day fly by with their interesting thoughts, ideas, and kindness. The parents are amazing at HT. I look forward to parent-teacher conferences because kids are emulations of their parents. Our students are so wonderful because of our parents. Parents will remember your birthday, teach about Jesus during Character Ed, and they will treat you like family. The parents are one of the ingredients that makes this school special. Last but not least the faculty and staff make this school what it is; truly remarkable. There is so much time and effort that are put into their lesson plans so that students can comprehend what they are learning. The teachers and administration truly attend to the needs of all the children that walk these halls. Nothing is ever good enough. This school is constantly innovating ideas and tweaking social gatherings so that every student feels connected and loved. The custodial staff care for the students’ safety and provide the students with the nicest facilities any kid could ever ask for. This place is truly one of a kind.
What do you want your students to take away from being in your class?
I want my students to feel comfortable in their own skin when speaking in front of an audience. I want them to be able to speak their opinions and to accept/respect other people’s views as well. I have a sign on my door that states, “LEARN FROM THE PAST.” It is important for our children to learn about the history of America and other nations so that the same mistakes are not being repeated. History should not make you think of a timeline, but instead it should make you feel something. How do you feel about the American flag that was still standing as Francis Scott Key watched from a ship during the War of 1812, or when Harriet Tubman went back and forth on the underground railroad to save more African Americans from slavery/oppression, or when Alexander the Great had nothing left to conquer and he perished on his journey back home, or where life originated with the Separate origins theory/the out of Africa theory/ The Garden of Eden theory. History has so much content that is made to inspire our young people to make a difference.
How do you stay inspired or “recharge your battery” as an educator?
My God helps to recharge my battery. Reading the word and taking time out of my day to spend with God gets me to feeling 100 percent. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife, family, and friends. What more can I ask for or want, but he still provides. Reading about Jesus in the Gospels affirms my faith and helps me to build my fortress on a rock that cannot be shaken. I find that I am at my weakest when I am away from reading scripture. All the good work that I have done is from God and I will continue to be a vessel for him.