“I believe that access to quality education is a civil rights issue, that every student deserves high quality teachers. I teach because I believe that you deserve the best teacher,” Dr. Rhia Hamilton says of her career choice.

By Nathalie Stewart, Features Editor

The gratitude of students has been shining a bright light on the new teachers at Keenan for the 2010-2011 school year. Many students in the 10th grade and up have realized that we have a large number of new staff members but didn’t know much about them.

One of the new additions to the Social Studies Department is Dr. Rhia Hamilton. Hamilton has been teaching high school students for six years. One thing that keeps her motivated to teach is her knowing what students will encounter in the future.

“A solid college preparatory education opens doors to new opportunities,” Hamilton said.

This year Hamilton only taught 10th grade World History, which there is no End of Course exam for. To many students this is a relief; for Hamilton this gives her a chance to help students better other skills such as reading comprehension and analytical skills that will help on the SAT and AP exams.

“The only way to become well prepared for life’s opportunities is to work hard in school,” Hamilton said.

Numerous students who take Hamilton agree that she does prepare them with hard work, but it is worth it.

“Dr. Hamilton is a wonderfully spectacular teacher who cares about her students’ education and where we go in life. Even though she challenges us to do our best, she always tells us that we are all beautiful, smart, intelligent and sweet students who[m] she wants to see succeed,” Sims said.

Though the year is almost over, Hamilton has left a good impression on students that will never be forgotten. She is an inspiration.

“I believe that access to quality education is a civil rights issue, that every student deserves high quality teachers. I teach because I believe that you deserve the best teacher,” Hamilton said.

Another addition to the Raider family is Mr. Brandon Hopkins, Band Director. Who can avoid this bright light that he has on him as a first year teacher? This year the band placed first in all of its competitions except the very first one. This is an outstanding accomplishment for the band and also the school as a whole.

When Mr. Willie Lyles, previous Band Director, retired no one knew who could take his place and do a wonderful job. With Hopkins being a Keenan alumnus and having studied under Lyles’ direction, he proved that he could.

Even though there is no state test or exams for the Music Department Hopkins still teaches students logic skills.

“My method of teaching forces my students to think while sharpening many of their verbal and mathematical skills. Band isn’t just about music; it embodies all content areas and is used frequently in the playing of various repertoires. That in itself could possibly increase scores when many of the students can relate the information on the test to another activity they enjoy,” Hopkins said

Hopkins has inspired many students to join the marching band for the 2011-2012 school year, and probably many more students will be inspired the year after that. He inspires students to learn as well.

“The joy I experience when my students are learning is the biggest inspiration,” Hopkins said.

Both Hamilton and Hopkins feel welcomed to Keenan and hope to be back next year making another big impact.

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