Morgantown High’s Arbogast Receives Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (March 8, 2011) – Maxine Pervola Arbogast’s teaching philosophy is simple. “Every child can be successful if given the right tools,” notes the 33-year veteran educator. “Just as an artist uses different forms of media to create his or her vision, a teacher should use a variety of teaching strategies so that each child can become his or her own masterpiece.

“Many times, those strategies involve more than teaching the lesson at hand; problem-solving ways to help students find motivation, control and personal worth can be the most challenging and rewarding part of a teacher’s job,” she adds. “Just as learning styles are different for every student, I believe that success comes in all forms as well. Success is not always spelled out in academics.”

Arbogast achieved one such success today. She was among only 12 teachers statewide to receive a 2011 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Arch Coal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Leer made the announcement during a presentation ceremony at the Clay Center in Charleston. He was accompanied by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) Executive Director David Haney.

“Maxine Pervola Arbogast teaches life skills that can help students make healthy choices for themselves and for their futures. The challenge lies in getting students to open their minds and explore the materials,” says Leer. “As a result, she nurtures patience, positive attitudes and mutual respect – creating a classroom environment where every student feels safe to ask questions and express feelings about teen issues.”

A Star City resident, Arbogast teaches health education courses at Morgantown High School. “As a teacher, I have been able to identify with those students who are frustrated or unmotivated and can be a positive influence on them like so many of my teachers were to my life,” she says. “Helping a student find success and a feeling of self-esteem is where my passion lies in teaching.

“Sometimes a past student will visit my classroom to share special memories about the class or a story of a personal learning experience that influenced the direction of his or her life,” Arbogast adds. “That is when I know that I, too, have made a difference in someone’s life.”

Arbogast earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at West Virginia University and has continued her education through a range of professional development opportunities. She is county coordinator for the American Lung Association’s Teens Against Tobacco Use (T.A.T.U) and RAZE (tearing down tobacco myths) programs and has been an active participant in certification classes for T.A.T.U., RAZE and N.O.T. (Not On Tobacco). Arbogast offers CPR and First Aid courses to students, faculty and community service workers and has presented several certification workshops at the Project Enrich staff development program. She works with the West Virginia State Department of Education on several committees and has explored other countries through the Toyota National Teachers and People to People Ambassador programs. Arbogast is a certified American Red Cross instructor and a sponsor of the Morgantown High School Red Cross Club, which was honored in 2010 by the local Red Cross chapter and the Dominion Post as “Heroes” in a community fundraising competition. Arbogast also is certified through the American Arthritis and the Aquatic Exercise associations. She teaches aquatic classes at Morgantown’s Health Works therapy pool.

In addition to recognition, awardees receive a $3,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education, a foundation of WVEA, makes a $1,000 award to each recipient’s school, for use with at-risk students.

The teacher-recognition awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and supported in program-promotion by the West Virginia Department of Education, the WVEA and the West Virginia Library Commission. The Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards is the longest running, privately sponsored teacher-recognition program in the state. Nominations are made by the public, and selection is made by a blue-ribbon panel of the teachers’ peers – previous recipients of the award.

The Arch Coal Foundation also supports teacher-recognition or grant programs in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes.

Arch Coal, Inc. is one of the world’s largest and most efficient coal producers, with more than 160 million tons sold in 2010. Arch supplies cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal to customers on four continents through its national network of mines. In West Virginia, Arch subsidiaries operate the Mountain Laurel and Coal-Mac complexes. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.