Members of the community who participated in the Apples for Teachers award ceremony for Carbon High School teacher James Thompson gathered at Farliano's Cafe on Friday. Back row: Mark Jesperson, Bill's Home Furnishings, Karin Odendahl and Emily Cox, SOS, Dustin Rich, Amie Christiansen and Jessica Adams, In-House Insurance, Ryan Peterson, ConocoPhillips, Dawn Stowe, KUSA. Front row: Yvonne Wilson, Ken Carpenter, USU Prehistoric Museum, James and Jeannie Thompson, and Jennifer Tryon, KUSA.
Carbon High School teacher James Thompson has seen his hard work pay off after many years of teaching students. And the awards signifying his hard work and dedication in his career have been starting to accumulate.
Thompson was announced as the Apples for Teachers Teacher of the Year on Friday. The award, created just over a year ago, comes just two weeks after he was named as the Apples for Teacher winner for the month of May.
"It was a real shock," Thompson said after being named Teacher of the Year. "I am extremely flattered by it."
The longtime teacher has been involved in the teaching profession for 37 years, including 30 years spent teaching in Carbon County. One of his favorite parts about teaching high school students is encouraging them to work hard and look at things from different perspectives.
"The ability to get kids to think about things is very important," Thompson explained. "My job is to help open up the world around them."
To receive the Teacher of the Month awards, Thompson was nominated by students he has taught. Seeing the letters students wrote in nominating him for the award was a touching moment, Thompson said.
He cited one nomination letter in particular which said a student and her sister, who is in college, were both taught by Thompson. The student said her sister has done well in classes such as college literature and other writing classes because of Thompson's enthusiasm in teaching students. Two of Thompson's favorite subjects to teach include literature and mythology.
Hearing about students who have gone on to college, including out of the area, is one thing. But having them come back and share their stories of success is one of the best parts about being a teacher, Thompson said.
"It's a great profession to be in," Thompson said of watching the students succeed. "They still remember teachers who helped along the way."
Jennifer Tryon, KUSA and KASL office manager, said eight people from around the community voted on the Teacher of the Year award. Tryon said Thompson was an easy choice to receive the award because of his love for teaching and pushing students to excel in life.
"He's [Thompson] so passionate about his work," Tryon said. "It [the award] couldn't have went to a better man."
In receiving the award, Thompson was presented with a plaque and an Apple laptop computer during a luncheon held at Farlaino's Cafe on Friday.
While the award holds a special place in his heart, the laptop may help Thompson fulfill some of his dreams. He said he has never owned a laptop for himself and now with his brand new piece of equipment, he may be able to start writing a book. The possible topic of the book? Teaching, of course.
"This [the laptop] will certainly help with writing a book," he said.
After almost four decades of teaching, Thompson said he has looked into the possibility of retiring in the next few years. While he may be planning his life after teaching, Thompson said students help play a pivotal role with his desire to continue teaching.
"The kids help keep me young," he quipped.