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The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

The Newspaper of McDaniel High School

The Oracle

Commitment to students, program earns state award

Jackson Mailey
CT Earnest cleans the 3D printers for her students, preparing for their upcoming classes. Earnest demonstrates continuous leadership and hard work in this space.

On Dec. 5 the Oregon Association for Career and Technical Education (OACTE) announced robotics and computer-aided design teacher CT Earnest winner of the New Teacher of the Year award

“The district nominated me and put in an application on my behalf,” Earnest said. “It was a total surprise.”

The ACTE award is meant to recognize individuals that surpass what’s expected of a teacher and make extraordinary contributions to CTE programs, ultimately strengthening that particular pathway. 

Earnest was not only unaware of the award, but she didn’t even know she was this district’s applicant altogether. 

“I won, and that’s when they told me about it,” Earnest said. 

Senior Justin Silva Gamez, a student of Earnest for two years, finds the award to be quite fitting. 

“I’m really thankful for her and for who she is,” Gamez said. “She’s a teacher that deserves a lot of respect.”

A large part of this award, Earnest explained, is developing CTE pathways and an effective rubric that will benefit students the most. 

In order to compete beyond state level, nominees are asked to share their plans to develop their pathway. 

“Our plan is to develop some curriculum, specifically supporting ELL [English Language Learners] students in our pathway, to succeed more,” Earnest said. “If you haven’t been speaking English your whole life, it can be really hard to go into a technical class like engineering.”

In an effort to achieve this, videos, photos, and vocabulary banks are all being constructed, attempting to give students the support and tools to keep up with projects.

“Getting students interested in that, through the CAD class that we teach, that’s new,” she said.

Along with ELL learners, Earnest’s leadership and efforts to promote the robotics program has been remarkable, beginning with the robotics space. 

In the 2022-23 school year, Earnest managed to take an unused space and constructed it into what is now the robotics room. 

“This room had like seven tables smushed together, and a box of printer paper, and there was nothing else,” Earnest said. “[I] cleared it all out and brought all of the manufacturing tools that the two rooms [computer science and engineering] had.”

Over the course of the following school year, the robotics program progressed, and this year the robotics team chose to start competing in competitions. 

“It was something extremely new to everyone,” Gamez said.

Because competing was new for McDaniel’s robotics team, creating their robot was a learning process. Figuring out what new parts were needed and reaching out about the funding for the program was alone a struggle. 

“Sometimes we were really tight on time,” Gamez stated.

Despite these obstacles, and the continued learning of how to program and code, the team qualified for state. 

Along with the progress achieved by the robotics team, Earnest’s aspirations for her classes are evident and translate directly to the time and care of her students individually. Her colleagues notice it too.

“I think she’s a great teacher, I wasn’t at all surprised,” Christopher Moore, a chemistry and engineering teacher, said. “I think she’s done a really good job at establishing a relationship with her students.”

From recommendations towards scholarships, majors and even where to apply for college, Earnest embraces her relationship with students to best support and advocate for opportunities they may not know about.

“She’s always helping me with my college stuff, I didn’t even have to ask her,” Gamez said. 

While growing relationships with those around her, Earnest has constructed a small community that works with one another, creating a welcoming environment. 

“If there’s a project that you don’t like, she’s gonna help you to try and help find the fun part,” Gamez states. 

Regardless of the potential stress or limited time on many occurring weeks, Earnest and her students manage to grow through new experiences, while still having fun. 

“Her classes are the best,” Gamez said.

Altogether, Earnest has managed to build a strong community that is hoping to bring together and inspire new students.

 “I hope McDaniel as a school starts to get the recognition for being the awesome place it is. [It] seems like that’s happening more and more, and it feels good to be a part of that,” Earnest stated. 

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About the Contributors
Hattie LaPlant, News Editor
Jackson Mailey, Sports Editor
Jackson Mailey (he/him) is a sophomore and his interests are sports, movies and sports cards. People describe him as funny, smart, and caring. He loves being a journalist because it can help him into the future and what he wants to do in the future.

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    CarolMay 7, 2024 at 11:30 pm

    This teacher is angel in disguise!!