Member Spotlight: Nate Thompson Tussey Mountain EA
Voice: March 2016
More than a decade ago, Nate Thompson envisioned a career with insects, trees, and plants. Then he got the newspaper "bug'' while a biology major at Juniata College, and today he is the Pennsylvania School Press Association's Journalism Teacher of the Year.
Thompson, an English/Journalism teacher at Tussey Mountain High School, Bedford County, for the past 10 years, won the award for his work as adviser to both the high school newspaper and yearbook.
PSPA is a statewide organization that promotes excellence in scholastic journalism by supporting teachers in developing students' skills and ethics.
Thompson's career path didn't start out in the world of print; in fact, he didn't even work on his high school newspaper. He entered Juniata College as a biology major eyeing a career in science. Then he took on some assignments for the college newspaper, and not only discovered he could write, but that he loved it and loved reporting.
He eventually switched his major to English, and an adviser suggested he also add secondary education because it would enhance his employment opportunities.
A year after graduation, Thompson landed at the Tussey Mountain School District, and being named PSPA's Journalism Teacher of the Year speaks for the success he has had.
He also loves the setting of Tussey Mountain, which as its very name suggests is nestled amid the state's central mountains, and serves students from small communities and farms. Similar to his switch of majors in college, it's a location much different from the suburban Harrisburg community where he grew up and attended school.
"It's a small, rural district with a lot of community support, and that allows a lot of opportunities for personal interaction and instruction,'' Thompson said. "I feel I'm able to really make an impact on individuals.''