Education

Cappiello Wins Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (May 3, 2006) – After graduating from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University-Athens, Vincent Peter Cappiello, Jr. thought his career track would lead to a high-paying, “big city” sports reporting job somewhere in the American Midwest.

“Instead, five years into a promising newspaper career, I volunteered to assist my wife, then a fifth-grade teacher in Kimberly, Idaho, with a school carnival,” he recalls. “I now look back on that event as a turning point in my professional career, and for that reason I say I did not seek education, but rather, education found me.”

Cappiello may not have realized his potential strength as an educator, but to others, it must have been obvious. Today he became one of only 10 teachers statewide to earn a 2006 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a presentation ceremony this afternoon at Johnson Junior High School. He was accompanied by Gov. and First Lady Dave and Nancy Freudenthal; Mary Kay Hill, director of administration for the Department of Education; Wyoming Education Association Executive Director Jean Hayek; and Arch Coal President and Chief Operating Officer John Eaves.

As a newspaper sports reporter, Vin Cappiello had memorable interviews with Bobby Knight and Shaquille O’Neal, but he will be best remembered by his students as a teacher and adviser,” says Leer. “His success as a journalist has been overshadowed by his success in the classroom.”

Cappiello teaches journalism and language arts at Cody High School, Cody, Wyo. “My main weakness is self-criticism,” he notes. “When my students make an error in the newspaper or yearbook, I believe that, ultimately, this is my responsibility.

“I ask myself, ‘What could I have done differently as a teacher to have prevented this?’ Rather than point the proverbial finger, we discuss how the error occurred and what can be done to correct the error. No one feels worse about an error than the person who made it,” he says.

“My advice to prospective teachers is simple,” adds Cappiello. “Don’t try to change the world, just make your corner of it a little bit better.”

Cappiello holds bachelor and master’s degrees in journalism from Ohio University at Athens. He became an educator through Idaho’s Alternative Route Certification Program. Cappiello has presented at many state conventions in Idaho and Wyoming. He plans to attend Walsworth Publishing Company’s summer camp for yearbook advisers, and in 2007 will be eligible to complete the requirements of a Master Journalism Educator through the Journalism Educator Association. He remains involved in professional journalism on a freelance basis as a member of the Wyoming Catholic Register’s Editorial Advisory Board, and he has written many freelance restaurant reviews for Pulse magazine.

Although he has earned numerous state and national awards, Cappiello believes nothing is more rewarding than watching students discover their passion. “My newspaper and yearbook editors both will major in journalism next year; I cannot begin to describe the joy I feel for them,” he says. “This profession is not about self congratulations; it is, rather, about the kids – mentoring them, nurturing them, and yes, loving them like your own children.”

Cappiello further serves his community through involvement in a range of community activities.

In addition to recognition, teacher achievement award recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted, personal cash award, a distinctive trophy and a 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, Loaf ‘n Jug, and the Wyoming Library community in program promotion. This is the sixth year Arch Coal has made the awards in Wyoming.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer and employs approximately 900 people in Wyoming. Arch produces more than 90 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.

Information about each of the recipients is posted on the Arch Coal Web site: www.archteacherawards.com.