Rodney Robinson, winner of the National Teacher of the Year Award 2019, said that the road to this point was littered with a number of obstacles. One of the most challenging things was the fact that he was pursuing his undergraduate degree from Virginia State University while he worked a full-time job.
Everything Rodney Robinson was up against was made easier with the help of his professors and classmates. They all knew that this man deserved to and was working to become one of the top educators, and therefore his professors would allow him some flexibility for the due dates, while his classmates made sure he had everything he needed to make it in class.
Some of Rodney’s professors would also make sure to buy some of the merchandise he was selling at the King’s Dominion amusement park to make sure he had earned a commission. This is why Rodney made sure to mention his community in his acceptance speech. He said that he was thankful for the tradition in his university to always lend a helping hand for the next generation.
VSU is a university that began back in 1822 with a group of 126 students. Back then it had just 7 Black faculty members and only one building on the campus. Now, it has managed to become home for over 5000 students that are taught by a splendid faculty that consists of 250 members. What’s more? Their campus now also has over 50 buildings!
During an interview, Robinson mentioned that when he first stepped onto VSU’s campus, he was a little intimidated. But, he quickly fall in love with all the abundance of support and enthusiasm. He said it almost felt like home in just a couple of weeks!
VSU has always had a tradition to extend helping hands for those that were in their campus alongside those who were outside as well. They focused most of their efforts on building a closely knit and thriving community. Perhaps this is exactly what it takes to make the National Teacher of the Year and so many more bright minds.