Strike Up the Band at Green River High School! Washburn Named Arch Coal Achievement Award Recipient

May 3, 2004 — Jerrid A. Washburn became a teacher because he wanted to make a difference in the lives of children. "I believe it is a calling in my life that cannot be denied," he says. "As a result of that belief, I also believe that teaching is a calling one should only enter if they are serious about committing themselves to the betterment of their students, not just as scholars, but also as people."

Today Washburn’s commitment was recognized statewide. He became one of only 10 Wyoming teachers to earn a 2004 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement, accompanied by Wyo. Governor Dave Freudenthal; Dr. Cheryl Schroeder, educational consultant representing Dr. Trent Blankenship, superintendent of public instruction; and Gary McDowell, president of the Wyoming Education Association, during a ceremony at Carey Junior High School in Cheyenne.

"These teachers challenge and inspire students to reach for their dreams," said Leer. "They are helping build a stronger Wyoming and a stronger America one student at a time. Arch Coal is proud to recognize some of the state’s most talented teachers and their tremendous contributions to our society."

Washburn teaches instrumental music at Green River High School, Green River, Wyo. "As a music teacher, I believe I have more tools at my disposal than a typical classroom teacher, because music touches every aspect of life," he notes. "Because of the numerous cross-curricular possibilities, I am never at a loss for creative activities.

"I believe all people are able to learn," he adds. "That being said, I also know that we all have different capacities for learning and learn in a multitude of ways. My job as a teacher is to find how each student learns most easily, to synthesize a methodology that encompasses the plethora and learning modalities in my classroom and to involve all students at all times."

Washburn earned dual degrees, one in music education and a bachelor of fine arts in music performance at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. His goal is to pursue a master’s degree in music performance and possibly to earn degrees in philosophy and education. He was elected to serve as the vice president of Wyoming Music Educator’s Association, and he will be organizing, selecting and directing the Wyoming All-State Band for the next two years. Washburn was assistant woodwind director for the Wyoming High School All-State Marching Band at the 2004 Rose Bowl Parade. His finest achievement, he believes, involves the continued improvement of his ensembles and the support of students and parents. Washburn further serves his community through a variety of church, education and civic activities. 

In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. The Arch Coal teacher recognition program features public nomination and peer selection. Arch Coal is supported by the Wyoming Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, Taco John’s and MiniMart in program promotion. 

Arch Coal is one of the nation’s largest coal producers and employs approximately 650 people in Wyoming. Arch produces more than 65 million tons of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal annually at its Wyoming operations. The company’s 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, Mo.