By NATALIE BRINK, KATIE McCLELLAN , Vandegrift Voice
The Vandegrift Viper football players swelled in the hallway, a strained murmur jumping from person to person. The hall went quiet at the coach’s request, but when Troy Bruce stepped out of his classroom, it exploded with cheers.
The football team honored Bruce, AP biology teacher at VHS, with the Change Our School Award on Oct. 28. Bruce collected the most votes this year from both players and coaches as the best example of an involved teacher.
“It makes me feel appreciated,” Bruce said. “It makes me happy knowing that people see what [I] put into [my job]. I just want to make sure everybody knows I care about them.”
Bruce is an avid football supporter and hasn’t missed a home game this season, spending his Friday nights cheering on the team from the sidelines, including captains Trey and Tyler Mongauzy.
“I always look forward to his class because he gives me a lot of motivation, especially since we always talk about football and the games,” Trey said. “I think his positivity really reflects on me and makes me a better person.”
“I think he’s just a really awesome teacher,” Tyler said. “It’s good knowing that if I have questions I can easily approach him and not just with school . He’s shown me what it’s like for a teacher to really care about you as more than just a student.”
According to head football coach Drew Sanders, the award is about connecting with students and teaching them not just to learn, but to grow. The football coaches created the award several years ago to recognize the school’s “amazing” teachers.
“We think it’s important to tell the people who we appreciate that we appreciate them,” Sanders said. “I think we truly surprised him. He deserves that.”
The science teacher, who hopes to have impacted his students in some way, hung the award plaque in his classroom immediately after receiving it.
Bruce said he enjoys going to school events, like football games and theatre plays, because he likes to see how his students are outside of AP biology. This has helped him connect with his students.
“I’ve got some great students,” Bruce said. “They work very hard, and that makes me feel good. All my students have to be successful for me to be successful.”