Education

Lakeside Elementary’s Brenda M. Young Receives Arch Coal Teacher Award

Charleston − As a child, Brenda M. Young recalls thinking no one could possibly be as special as a teacher. “I wanted to be just like each new teacher to whom I was assigned,” she says. Young achieved that goal – perhaps beyond her expectations. Today she became one of only 10 teachers in the state to receive an Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award.

In making the announcement, Arch Coal President and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Leer presented Young with a $2,500 award. Also on hand to honor her were Governor Bob Wise, Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Stewart, and West Virginia Education Association President Tom Lange.

With 28 years as an educator, Young teaches kindergarten classes at Lakeside Elementary, in Hurricane. She believes the most important thing she does for students is to pass on her love of learning. “Watching that spark appear as a child grasps something new, the excitement of concepts being understood and the unconditional faith freely given by my students, motivate me to ‘fan the flames’ of learning,” she says. “I want to take every child in my classroom to their utmost limit and show them how to expand that limit, enabling them to question, seek and find more than they imagined possible.”

Young’s influence reaches far beyond her classroom, however. “I first learned about Ms. Brenda Young through a bear-traveling project, called ‘Wally Weather Bear,’” notes Christina Chang, a journalist for Taiwan’s Mandarin Daily News. “Through e-mail, I contacted her and helped locate a kindergarten in Taiwan to join the project. The project was a success. It opened eyes for kids and teachers who got involved. The power of the Internet was made tangible through the project. The school thanked me for having introduced the project to them. I knew I had Ms. Young to thank. “

Chang did a report on the project and interviewed her through e-mail, which was published in two major Chinese newspapers. “Many teachers and parents here in Taiwan were so touched by the story that they got excited about technology and education for young learners,” Chang says. “People may think how the world comes closer through the Internet! But the truth is, the world comes closer through teachers like Ms. Young, who know how to utilize the power of Internet for real education. She truly lives up to the motto she shares with us: Teachers are learners who share with the world.”

“Ms. Young is a truly motivational teacher,” adds Robert E. Hull, Young’s supervisor and director of Early Childhood Education. “Brenda is constantly experimenting with new techniques and devising units of study for her and others to use in the classroom.”

Young earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Marshall University, in Huntington, W.Va.

Arch Coal in the nation’s second largest coal producer. Arch employs about 2,000 people in West Virginia. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and makes its corporate headquarters in St., Louis, Mo.