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Teacher of the Year

Henry Pepich


Teacher of the Year is an award given to outstanding teachers on campus who go above and beyond for their students, helping them tackle challenges inside and outside the classroom. The recipient of the award is chosen by all the teachers on campus through a nomination and voting process. This year's Teacher of the Year award has been given to Mr Newell, RHS’s AP Calculus and Math 3+ teacher. We talked to Mr. Newell to find out a little bit more about him and his teaching career. 

Mr. Newell currently teaches AP Calculus AB/BC and Math 3+. These are both advanced math classes, requiring not only bright students, but also a skilled teacher to help students understand the rigorous coursework. We asked Mr. Newell about why he decided to become a math teacher and he told us that it was something he had always had a passion for, “Math is always something I’ve been fascinated by,” he said “Even as a highschool student myself, I remember sitting in math classes and knowing that I understood what was going on but some of my classmates didn’t. It made me realize I could really help them understand.”

When asked what his favorite thing about teaching was, Mr. Newell told us that it was connecting with his students. “It really helps keep me young.” He also mentioned some struggles in teaching, saying that he is not always able to teach what he believes is valuable, “Balancing the things I find important and what I want to teach, versus what I'm required to teach can be sort of a constraint at times.” 

Winning Teacher of the Year is a big honor, and we wanted to find out how Mr. Newell felt about receiving the award. He said, “It's nice to be recognized by your colleagues. The award is a nomination basically from all the teachers at RHS, so if my peers say I'm doing a good job that means a lot to me.”

Mr. Newell also talked about some of his interests and hobbies outside of school, “I love anything outdoors. Hiking, camping, cycling, I love it all. I try to be as eclectic as possible.” At the end of the interview, we got to learn some fun facts about Mr. Newell, including that he lived and taught in China for 12 years! He told us that his favorite memory from teaching was actually after his return from China, “Coming back to Ramona where I actually graduated from and going to the first pep rally after Covid was a nostalgia hit. Seeing the same gym I had been in during high school, there were some weird feelings.”

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