GILBERT — Mingo Central High School teacher Brandon Cline was honored at the Governors Honors Academy (GHA) favorite teachers luncheon on July 12 at Fairmont State University.
Kailey Stuart, a student at Mingo Central attended GHA in 2014 which is based on the premise that West Virginia’s brightest and highest-achieving rising seniors deserve special learning opportunities in order for them to realize their full potential. During GHA students are presented with many opportunities that they might not get the chance to experience otherwise.
Each year at GHA, the students are asked to fill out an application and the top students are asked to pick their favorite teacher for a luncheon and to presented with an award. The students are allowed to pick any teacher that they have had since Kindergarten and this year there were close to 200 students. Among those chosen from Mingo County was Tina Cline, Brandon Cline’s math teacher during his high schools years as well as his mentor.
Cline knows the GHA experience very well considering it was just six years ago when he was in Stuart’s shoes. Cline says that that is what makes this award even more special.
“When I was a senior, I got to go to GHA and experience everything they had to offer and it was amazing,” said Cline. “And when I got picked to pick my favorite teacher, I couldn’t think of anyone else to take but Tina Cline”.
Cline was able to stand alongside his high school mentor and teacher as they both stood and were recognized, something Cline says has been on his mind for many years.
“When I took Tina Cline to the luncheon years ago, I had already decided that I wanted to be a math teacher and had already decided that this was something that was going to be a goal for me,” said Brandon Cline. “Now here I am standing beside one of the best math teachers I know and the other teachers that I had when I was at GHA and I’m being recognized alongside them. It really was like a dream”.
According to Brandon Cline, GHA helped impact his life in such a way that getting recognized by them is more important that other awards.
“When I went to GHA, it was the first time I had stayed away from home and I was introduced to students who wanted to learn just like me,” said Cline. “I was also able to have cultural experiences such watching a broadway show, learning how to salsa dance and meeting a holocaust survivor. It gave me a chance to experience a taste of college life before going to college”.
Cline says that receiving the GHA Favorite Educators Award was something that started offering help to his classmates.
“I worked in youth ministry which meant I was around other teenagers and younger most of my time but what really made me decide teaching was for me was when I could sit down with my classmates and help them on their assignments or homework,” said Cline. “There is nothing like helping someone who doesn’t understand and then seeing their eyes light up once they do. I knew then that I wanted to be an inspiration and make a difference in kid’s lives,”
Cline recently started his own class at Mingo Central in order to offer yet another AP class to his students. Many doubted that Mingo County students would ever get AP Statistics but according to Cline, he knew they could.
“I wanted to start this new class to inspire my students and my fellow teachers that starting new things could be a good thing,” said Cline.
It was in that AP Statistics class that Kailey Stuart got to experience what it was like to be a student in Brandon Cline’s classroom.
“Mr. Cline is a great teacher! I was part of his first ever AP Statistics class. He was nervous about teaching the subject for the first time but we all succeeded together and he made it clear that he cared about us and our education,” read the projector behind Cline as he received his award.
“I was really nervous at first,” said Brandon Cline about teaching AP Statistics. “The students thought it was so hard in the beginning but as time went on, they caught on and we all grew our confidence together. It is always interesting to see how many personalities you get in a classroom and this one was no different but by the end of the year, I like to joke that we had grown into our own little dysfunctional family.”
Madalin Sammons is a reporter for the Gilbert Times. Madalin can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 304-664-8225