RBHS learning specialist, Mary Grupe has been nominated for the 2014 Horace Mann Columbia Missouri National Education Association Teacher of the Year Honoree. This award aims to honor teachers who go above and beyond for their students.
Grupe will compete now at the state level against other honorees.
“The attention’s a little hard for me but to know that my peers and my association good things about what I’m doing, it feels good and it feels appreciated,” Grupe said. “It’s humbling, and if there’s a story to be told about it, it is about being active in your association as a professional and feeling recognition from our peers is a powerful thing.”
Students of hers say Grupe is a teacher who pushes them to strive to do their best. Grupe spends her teaching time at RBHS getting to know her students and helping them to make the most of their time spent in high school.
Junior Shari Grosz has worked closely with Grupe during her time at RBHS and considers her to be more of a “buddy” than a teacher.
“I’ve been having a lot of stuff going on in my life right now and she knows that but she does not just turn around and pity me because of it she understands that ‘oh if you’re having a rough day talk to me, but I don’t want you skipping out on classes’ she’s concerned about me, but she’s also concerned that I graduate even if she won’t see me,” Grosz said. “Probably because I can talk to her about lots of things and she won’t judge me or be like ‘I think you shouldn’t do this’ [or] ‘yeah, you need to do this.’ Instead she just helps me and helps me with my mistakes … she just helps me to be a better me than I am.”
Though her job is never consistent, Grupe works to make the most of each day. Her students may not always be the most motivated, but she does all she can to help them maintain their grades, stay in class and enjoy their years in high school.
“It is a job that’s never boring and there are new challenges every single day. I feel like I am making the world around me a little better with what I have so it always feels good,” Grupe said. “I work mostly with students who don’t usually like school and so I kind of work with motivation and helping students find the best way to attack their academic lives.”
Grosz said Grupe may not know it, but she has had a huge impact on her high school career. She believes that her teacher has helped her to become a friendlier person as well as keep herself organized and on top of school work. Grupe’s attitude toward her teaching and working with students always remains positive, according to Grosz.
“She has to deal with so much crap from people here, people outside of here but she always deals with it in a calm way and she’s always trying to make everyone’s day and she’s always nice, no matter if she’s upset or if something bad happens,” Grosz said. “She always has a smile on her face. She’s always there to make someone’s day.”
In February 2011 Jefferson Junior High School math teacher Kathy Steinhoff accepted this award and was recognized as the top educator of the year at a national gala in Washington D.C.
By Brittany Cornelison
Additional reporting by Ashleigh Atasoy