Oftentimes, I think back to the question I’ve heard a thousand times over, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I can honestly say, as a Business major, I did not see myself working in Education, but I am grateful I was given the opportunity. My family is full of men and women who work in education-related fields and I highly respect what they do, but growing up around the industry helped me realize my interests lie elsewhere. That is, until the Appalachian College Advising Corps came along. The offer I received opened up a whole new way of thinking and an opportunity that I had no idea existed - a chance to return to my old high school as a college adviser for Appalachian State. At first glance, I was intimidated. “I took business classes;I don’t know how to teach”, “What if no one takes me seriously”, “How am I supposed to advise students I grew up around”... All these thoughts ran through my head and remained there until a late-night phone call with a close family member. “Noah, you have the potential to seriously change the outcomes of these kids' lives. They might not see their potential, but you can. Think of it like this, they are the buyer, and you are the salesman...now go sell them their future!” When I hung up the phone, a realization set over me, “I can do this”. From that point forward, I set out on a mission to take what I learned from the business world and use it to my advantage in an educational setting.
While the learning curve was difficult at first, I found out rather quickly the supportive staff members at Robbinsville High School are one-of-a-kind. The daunting task of working alongside previous teachers and administrators was undoubtedly made easier by the warm smiles and the cheerful remarks of “How have you been”, and “You’re all grown up”. All at once, I was immersed in the school and involved with the student body and felt right at home. The indulgent Black Knight school spirit, the excitement of Friday Night Lights, the personal connection between students and faculty: This all felt familiar yet very different as I was experiencing it from a new perspective.
A sense of pride resonated with me as I witnessed first-hand their accomplishments and futures developing. I look forward to seeing them down the road and saying, “Well look how you turned out” as was once said to me. As a Business major with a business mind, I was groomed to identify potential. For my students, that is what I see. The copious amounts of potential are present with every student, every conversation, and every interaction. The joy of my job is helping them realize it. Students come and go from Robbinsville High, but one thing that will never cease to exist is the passion to go above and beyond expectations, the willingness to learn from one another, and the commitment to provide a safe, educational environment for ALL students. I believe that is to be something every school should strive to imitate, and I applaud Robbinsville High School for it.
Noah as a student at Robbinsville High School (below) and as an AppCAC adviser (above) pictured with JennieV Sorrells of Project Discovery.