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The annual “Apples for Teachers” award hosted by the local radio station, 101.5 KPLA, selects 10 teachers from the Columbia and Jefferson City school districts each spring for the Golden Apple Award, which recognizes teachers “who go above and beyond for their students.”
Students had until March 14 to submit essays of why their teacher deserved recognition, and the station announced finalists this week on the radio. RBHS houses the only high school teacher in the ten finalists from Columbia — journalism instructor Robin Stover.
“Mrs. Stover is an exceptional teacher, and I would do anything I can to support her teaching. She is fully committed to student success and learning,” RBHS principal Mark Maus said. “Someone is recognizing one of the fantastic teachers from Rock Bridge High School, and no one deserves it more than Mrs. Stover.”
Starting out with the dream of teaching drama, Stover’s life quickly changed when she picked up a high school newspaper instead at a job interview. The inky pieces of paper entranced her. While her hope of teaching communication was still vibrant, it quickly changed course from verbal to written, marking the birth of a teacher.
When she first began teaching journalism at RBHS in the late ‘90s, Stover was only immersed in the art of newspaper. In the past few years, however, she has expanded her teaching wing span to nurture RBHS’ yearbook, Flashback, and an online news website as well. Under her tutelage, all three of her publications received Pacemaker Finalist this past year — one of the most prestigious awards offered to high school journalism works. This marks the first year the National Scholastic Press Association awarded Pacemaker finalists to the RBHS yearbook and online news website.
The achievements of all publications under Stover’s advisory is a pure reflection of her attitude toward teaching, her power to inspire students daily and her ability to draw an assortment of high school students into a team, said senior Shaun Gladney, editor-in-chief of Flashback. Though somewhat frazzled half the time by the drama, news and problems of the students around her, Stover has the ability to maintain a sane working environment that is home for many students, said Gladney.
“I’d say our publications are of such high quality,” Gladney, said, “because of the work ethic she instills in us.”
Stover takes her job of teaching to a completely new level, using what seems like a psychic ability to gauge attentiveness and attention span within the classroom, said junior Atreyo Ghosh, one of the students in her Journalistic Writing class. Stover also finds relevant and unique ways to teach students what they need to learn by adding her own personal touches.
“She’ll often give us a say in what to do in class, like choosing between a lecture or a relevant video,” Ghosh said. “And one day when we had to learn grammar, she mixed in some funny similes here and there.”
While her job is to teach, Stover has become a second mother or a guidance counselor to many students, Gladney and Ghosh said. While others see her as just a journalism teacher, her pupils see her as more; they realize the lessons she reach beyond the world of print and online writing.
“At the end of the day when I need a hug or just need to talk, she’s always there,” Gladney said. “Stover doesn’t teach me journalism, she teaches me how to deal with life.”
By Daphne Yu