By Alissa Ihlenfeld, Current Staff
Richard Prost didn’t always know he wanted to be a teacher.
Prost, a West Bend East High School science teacher, was given the title of Teacher of the Year by the Rolfs Educational Foundation May 6. He accepted the award in the East Library amidst family and colleagues.
However, he wasn’t always planning on winning this award. In fact, he wasn’t even planning to become a teacher.
“In college, my degree was in astrophysics-based science,” Prost said. “I wasn’t intending on being a teacher until my junior year. I did a cooperative experience at NASA, and worked at space camp, which sparked my interest (in) teaching.”
When Prost did decide to teach, he earned his license and in 2001 began working at East, which was a familiar place. Prost graduated from West High in 1993.
“I had awesome teachers in all subjects,” Prost said. “I had great science teachers: Mr. Clingan, Mr. Zupnyk, Mr. Nelson, my physics teacher. They were all great teachers.”
Speaking on winning the award, Prost only has positive things to say.
“It feels awesome, it’s very humbling,” Prost said.
Sunshine Prost, East sophomore and Prost’s daughter, thinks he deserves the award and believes that he really puts in the effort for his students to help them understand the concepts he teaches.
In addition to the support of his family, his colleagues agree.
¨Mr. Prost is a model teacher for connecting learning to life,” East principal Darci VanAdestine said.
Each year the Rolfs Education Award recognizes four staff members: an elementary school teacher, a middle school teacher, a high school teacher and other staff members like guidance counselors. These staff members can be nominated by anyone outside of immediate family, while the Rolfs Foundation Committee makes the final decision on who will be recognized. Recent recipients from the high schools include Michael Lewandowski, Mark Drake, Donna Goetz, Jessica Flitter and Karen Wysocky.
(Photos courtesy of the West Bend School District.)