High School Social Studies Teacher, Radio Personality, and Sportscaster George Savarese

TeacherAppleTN1[1]Often talented educators make a name for themselves in fields outside of education. This is certainly true of George Savarese, a high school social studies teacher who has also earned recognition as a radio personality and sportscaster.

In 1988, George earned his bachelor’s degree in history, political science, and English from Duquesne University, a private Catholic university in Pittsburgh. He earned a master’s degree in history in 1991 and a master’s in education in 1996, also at Duquesne. He accepted his first teaching position at Pennsylvania Governor’s School for International Studies. In 1997, he has been employed as a social studies teacher in the public school system at Mt. Lebanon High School. He also worked for ten years as the educational director of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, an organization which works to foster informed, independent, and critical thinking about global issues that affect the nation and Western Pennsylvania.

For many years George has served Mt. Lebanon as the faculty advisor for the school’s National Forensic League team. Under his leadership, George’s team advanced to the 2006 State Championship. Throughout his tenure as director of the speech and debate program, he has coached thirteen Mt. Lebanon students to state championships. Five of his students were National Finalists at NFL Nationals, and four of them were named runners-up in the National Championships in their events. For this work, George has been recognized with the Diamond Key Coach Recognition Award from the National Forensic League. In addition, George has served as one of the coaches of his school’s Model United Nations team, along with fellow history teacher Peter DiNardo. Under the leadership of these two talented educators, the school’s MUN team has consistently been considered among the premier programs in the country.

For his achievements in the classroom, George has been named a Teacher of Excellence by the Teacher Excellence Center, and he was inducted into the Cum Laude Society. He was also chosen as one of ten Pennsylvania teachers to travel to European Union and NATO headquarters in Brussels as part of a EU program in 2004. He was also selected the winner of the Get Involved! Dr. Tom Baker Community Leader Award in 2012. The selection committee chose George for this honor because of his dedication to the community and his passion for making a positive difference in the region.

But the talented teacher has earned recognition in other fields as well. He has served as the host of the Global Press Conference on the World Affairs Council on KQV Radio, and he has also worked for AP Radio and National Public Radio. He currently covers Pittsburgh sports on an intermittent basis for Fox Sports Radio, CBS Radio, and the NFL Radio Network on Sirius XM Radio. Throughout his career, he has interviewed numerous famous sports personalities such as Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Ron Francis, Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripkin, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Troy Polamalu, Heath Miller, and Sidney Crosby.

Chalkboard champion George Savarese is certainly an impressive individual, as a educator, radio personality, and sportscaster.

Alma Wagen Whitacre: High School Math Teacher, Mountain Climber, and National Parks Guide

Alma_Wagen[1]Many talented educators pursue careers in areas other than education. Such is certainly the case for Alma Wagen Whitacre, a high school math teacher who was also enjoyed an illustrious career as a mountain climber and national parks guide.

Alma was born in 1878 on her grandparents’ farm in Mankato, Minnesota. As a young child, she discovered a fierce desire to climb, and because there were no mountains near her home, she began to climb local windmills. This earned her the nickname of “the windmill climber.”

After high school, Alma attended the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1903. She then moved to Tacoma, Washington, where she accepted a position as a math teacher at Stadium High School. Just about every minute she was not in the classroom, she climbed in the nearby North Cascades and Olympic Mountains.

In 1913, Alma became an official member of the Mountaineers, a nonprofit outdoor recreation, education, and conservation group founded in 1906. The next year, she traveled to Glacier National Park where she discovered a passion for national parks. The following year she climbed Mount Rainier for the first time. In 1916, the intrepid math teacher spent the summer hiking in Yellowstone National Park, and in 1917, she climbed Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Hood with the Mountaineers. It was during one of these climbs that Alma nearly lost her life. In the June, 1922, Sunset Magazine, it was recounted that, “When well up to the summit of Mount Hood, a small boulder, loosened by the melting snow, came bounding down the steep declivity, (and) struck Miss Wagen upon the back just above one hip. The pain and shock were terrific, but the girl, clutching the rope desperately, saved herself a fall that would have meant death.”

When the United States became involved in World War I, many mountain guides volunteered for the service. To partially fill this personnel shortage, Alma joined the National Park Service as a guide in 1918. She was the first woman to become a guide in Mount Rainier National Park. She spent her work hours as a guide leading tourists on hikes to nearby glaciers. Joseph Hazard, Rainier’s chief climbing guide at the time, once described the teacher as “one of the best guides in the employ of the company.” She also worked in Yosemite National Park briefly in 1922 before returning to Rainier.

Alma had come to the Northwest wearing a jaunty Tyrolean hat decorated with a pheasant feather. Her hat and feather became her trademark as a guide. The rest of her outdoor clothing was warm and practical for use in uncertain weather conditions. The weather did not dampen her enthusiasm for climbing, however. In an interview appearing in the April 18,1923, Tacoma News Tribune, Alma declared, “I wanted to get up among the clouds and to feel myself as free as the birds and the air, and to be able to shout my freedom as loudly as I liked without having someone point to me sadly and say ‘It is not pretty for little girls to climb windmills.'”

Alma retired from her career as a mountain guide following her marriage to Horace J. Whitacre in Tacoma. After he passed away in 1950, she moved to Claremont, California, where she lived until her death on December 7, 1967.

Teacher, Author, Historian, Veteran, and Chalkboard Champion Stanley Vestal Campbell

walterstanleycampbell_ohs[1]Many talented teachers make a name for themselves in fields other than education. Such is the case for Walter Stanley Vestal Campbell, a high school English who is also well-known as a writer, biographer, poet, and historian. He is probably best known as an author of books about the Native Americans and the Old West.

Known by his middle name, Stanley was born on August 15, 1887, near the town of Severy in Greenwood County, Kansas. His parents were Walter Mallory Vestal and Isabella Wood Vestal. Shortly after the young Stanley’s birth his father passed away and his mother re-married. From his new stepfather, James Robert Campbell, Stanley adopted the surname Campbell.

In 1889, the Campbell family moved to Guthrie in the newly-established Oklahoma Territory. In 1903, the family moved to Weatherford, where Stanley’s stepfather had accepted a position as the first president of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, a newly established institution of higher learning.While growing up in Guthrie and Weatherford, young Stanley counted many Cheyenne as his playmates and companions. He learned much about their culture and Plains Indian cultures in general, knowledge that aided his field work among the Lakota and served as the basis for three historical studies he produced later in his life.

In 1908, Stanley graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State, and later he became the school’s first Rhodes Scholar. The young man then attended Oxford University in England, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1911 and his master’s degree in 1915. His field of study was English language and literature.

When Stanley returned to the United States, he taught for three years at the prestigious Male High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Then he became a professor of English at the University of Oklahoma at Norma, where he became known for his excellent courses in creative writing. His students regularly sold their work to reputable magazines and journals.

thCANUIB1QStanley’s tenure at the university was temporarily interrupted when he left the university to serve as a captain in an artillery regiment during World War I from 1917 to 1919, and again when he left to serve as a Guggenheim Fellow from 1930 to 1931, and yet again when he left to serve a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1946. Between 1927 and 1957, Stanley wrote more than twenty books, some novels and poems, and as many as one hundred articles about the Old West. In his writing, the former teacher worked diligently to change negative perceptions of the Plains Indians.

Stanley passed away in Oklahoma City from a heart attack on Christmas Day in 1957. He is interred as Walter S. Campbell at the Custer National Cemetery in Big Horn County, Montana.


Robert Oren Trout: Junior High School Teacher, Principal, Sociologist, and Veteran

ba7011dd[1]Many talented educators distinguish themselves in their fields, and this is certainly the case for Robert Oren Trout, a junior high school teacher and principal who was also a prominent sociologist.

Robert Trout was born August 4, 1904, in Girard, Louisiana. Young Robert was raised in Union Parish and graduated from Marion High School in the town of Marion. After high school, Robert attended Louisiana Tech, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 1938. He earned his master’s degree in education from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1942, and completed the requiments for his doctorate degree in 1952.

Robert inaugurated his teaching career in 1936. He served in Arkansas public schools, where he taught seventh graders for nine years. During World War II, this junior high school teacher served a four-year stint in the US Navy. He was stationed in the Pacific Theater. After his discharge, Robert returned to the Arkansas school system to accept a position as a principal. In 1947, he joined the faculty at Louisiana Tech, where he specialized in geography and sociology. When the Supreme Court ordered desegregation of public schools, the community-minded former junior high school teacher served on the Bi-Racial Committe of Lincoln Parish. He also served on the board of the Ruston Housing Authority. In 1961, Trout was named the Louisiana delegate to the White House Conference on Aging.

During his tenure at Louisiana Tech, Robert served as the chair of the Social Sciences Department. He was also a member of Alpha Kappa Delta, an honor society for sociologists, and Phi Delta Kappa, an honor society for educators. In addition, he was involved in the Southwestern Sociological Association, the Southwest Social Sciences Association, and the Lions Club. He often lectured at civic clubs and within the education system, frequently including sociological statistics he had personally gathered and researched.

Robert Oren Trout retired from the teaching profesion in 1976. He passed away on March 15, 1995.

Chandler Woodcock: English Teacher, Viet Nam Veteran, and Maine State Senator

bio1[1]Many extraordinary educators also serve as effective politicians. A great example of this is Chandler E. Woodcock, a high school English teacher and basketball coach who has also served his community as a state senator in Maine from 2000 to 2006.

Chandler was born in Mechanic Falls, Maine, and was raised in nearby Farmington. His father was a manager at the Forster Manufacturing Company. Both Chandler’s parents served in the military during World War II; his father in the Army Air Corps and his mother in the US Marines.

During his boyhood, Chandler was elected president of his class several times.After he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the US Army and served a tour of duty during the Viet Nam War. When he returned from Viet Nam, Chandler enrolled in the University of Maine at Farmington, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary bio2[1]education. He then taught English for over twenty-five years in the public school system, serving at Livermore Falls High School, Mt. Blue High School, and the Skowhegan Area High School. At each school, this talented teacher served as the basketball coach, and he even led the Mt. Blue High School girls’ varsity team to two state championships.

In adition to his teaching career, Chandler served five years on the Board of Selctement in Farmington, one of those years as the chairman of the board, before being elected to the Maine State Senate in 2000. During his first term, the former educator served on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee and the Legal and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. During his second term, he served as Assistant Senate Republican Leader and on the Judiciary Committee. In January, 2009, Chandler became the executive director of the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association. With State Representative Tom Saviello of Wilton, Chandler is also the co-host of a public-access television talk show on Mt. Blue Community Access TV entitled “Talkin’ Maine with the Bow Tie Boys.” Both Chandler and his co-host are known locally for wearing bow ties.