Strike Up the Band! Worland’s Dave Bellis Honored With Arch Coal Teacher Award

Cheyenne (May 3, 2002) - David E. Bellis, who teaches instrumental music and show choir at Worland Middle and High schools, was inspired 34 years ago by his high school band director. It made a lasting impression on him, which led him to pursue a teaching career.

Today, Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, announced Bellis is a 2002 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award recipient. Gov. Jim Geringer, Superintendent of Public Instruction Judy Catchpole, and Wyoming Education Association Communications Director Ron Sniffin joined Leer at the ceremony, which took place at Jessup Elementary School in Cheyenne.

“Arch Coal is pleased to honor 10 excellent Wyoming teachers, who daily bring the magic of learning to their students. Arch Coal believes that great classroom teachers are primary, positive influences in American education,” says Leer. “I know these teachers dare their students to succeed  and then teach them how.”

“Probably the most important thing I do for my students is prepare them for life,” Bellis says. “Not all of them will continue playing their instruments after high school, but the lessons they learn are invaluable. They learn that preparation instills confidence. Students learn that teamwork makes the job easier, and communication skills are needed to gain the cooperation of others."

The band instructor of Worland’s “White Thunder Marching Band” wants his students to learn to perform creatively and to enjoy the rewards of their hard work. His school’s band, as well as the Wyoming State Marching Band, has traveled often. According to Bellis, he uses the trips as life lessons for his students as well, including learning to live with others, experiencing different cultures, and even converting dollars into other currencies.

“Dave is one of those rare teachers who has the ability to effect change by his very presence,” says Richard Schaal, his principal. “His greatest achievement is evident in the lives of the students he has changed.”

“Dave is the kind of teacher you love to be around,” says colleague Dr. Tim McGee. “He makes you dream of helping the one child who swears he will never ‘get it.’ I have no doubt that I’m a better teacher because of the time I have spent watching Dave Bellis work his magic. I’ll never be able to thank him enough for the outstanding things he has done for my two children.”

Bellis enjoys the achievements of his students. “The enthusiasm a beginner shows when learning to put his horn together for the first time or play ‘Hot Cross Buns’ still brings a smile to my face after 28 years of teaching,” he notes.

Bellis has a bachelor’s degree in music education from Nebraska’s Chadron State College.

Each recipient receives a $2,500 unrestricted cash award and a distinctive glass trophy, in addition to other recognition. The Arch Coal teacher recognition program is unique because it features public nomination and peer selection. This is the second year for the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards in Wyoming.

The Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, Taco John’s and MiniMart support Arch Coal in the program.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer and employs more than 500 people in Wyoming. The company produces more than 65 million tons of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal annually at its Wyoming operations. Its Black Thunder operation in Campbell County is one of the nation’s largest and most efficient coal mines. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis.