Education

Hedgesville High School’s Sonya Shockey Receives Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston, W. Va. (March 31, 2014) – Teaching comes naturally to Sonya Shockey thanks to her love of learning. “After I made the decision to teach while in my freshman year of college, it just felt … right,” she said. “Teaching has become an integral part of who I am, and I am so proud to say that I never get bored with my work. My work is not just a job; my work is learning, and there is so much more to learn!

“My students teach me something new every, single day,” she continued. “They motivate me daily to be a better teacher, and I teach my students more than just the content of world history. First, they need to learn to see the whole world, and then they will be able to find their place in the world. Without the knowledge of the world and its history, how can they find their place?”

As a result of Shockey’s ability to help her students find their place, she received statewide recognition today. She was one of only 12 teachers to receive a 2014 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. John W. Eaves, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a ceremony at the Clay Center in Charleston. He was accompanied by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Dale Lee. This is the 26th year the awards have been presented in West Virginia. It is the longest-running, privately funded teacher recognition program in the state.

“We’re honored to recognize the 12 outstanding West Virginia teachers who were selected as this year’s recipients of the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards,” Eaves said. “If a solid education is the foundation upon which an individual builds a successful life, then excellent teachers are the mortar that holds the foundation together. These 12 individuals are great examples of the many committed teachers who strive daily to educate our children and make West Virginia a stronger state.”

Shockey teaches world history and civics at Hedgesville High School. She has 16 years of teaching experience. “Despite all the challenges in education, I believe it to be the most honorable of all professions,” Shockey said. “Teaching is a profession that not only requires your time, but also your heart. Those who know their students and teach from the heart make the greatest, lasting impression on students. “

“I have had the benefit of having Mrs. Shockey as a teacher and a debate and speech coach,” said Shawn Hogbin, a student at Hedgesville High School. “This has been nothing but a fantastic experience. Her teaching style and personality challenged me as a student to go above and beyond the textbook and assignments. Her understanding of the material, charisma, drive and intellect make her classes exciting and informative.”

Shockey holds an associate degree in liberal arts from Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg, and a bachelor’s degree in education and social studies from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown. She also has received her National Board Certification. She has served as a mentor to other teachers pursuing national board certification and has participated in the Library of Congress Teacher Institute. She is applying to be the Library of Congress Teacher-in-Residence and is working on recertification of her national board status. She established and continues to sponsor the school’s debate and speech team and oversees the Josten’s Renaissance program at the school. She also teaches first- and second-graders at church. Shockey resides in Inwood, W.Va.

Teachers are nominated by the public, and a blue-ribbon panel of past awards recipients selects the annual winners. Each Teacher Achievement Awards recipient is presented with a distinctive trophy, a classroom plaque and a $3,500 personal cash award. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education, a foundation of WVEA, also presents a $1,000 cash award to each recipient’s school for use with at-risk students.

The Teacher Achievement Awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and are supported in program promotion by the West Virginia Department of Education, the WVEA and the West Virginia Library Commission.

Arch Coal and the Arch Coal Foundation have a long history of supporting educational and community causes in West Virginia. The Arch Coal Foundation also supports teacher recognition or grants programs in Wyoming and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes. Information about each of today’s 12 West Virginia recipients, as well as past recipients, is posted at archteacherawards.com.

St. Louis-based Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) is one of the world’s top coal producers for the global steel and power generation industries, serving customers on five continents. Its network of mining complexes is the most diversified in the United States, spanning every major coal basin in the nation. In West Virginia, Arch Coal and its subsidiaries employ about 1,800 people. For more information, visit archcoal.com and responsible.archcoal.com.