Four Accomplished Students
to Honor Teacher

Rapid City Journal
April 28, 2009

This isn't the first time U.S. history teacher Scott Tubbs of Rapid City Stevens High School has been honored at the annual Evening of Excellence, but it is the most students—four—who have chosen him the same year as an influential teacher in their lives in what has become a special tradition for local graduating seniors and their teachers.

"It's hard to find the words, to be honest," Tubbs said. "For students of that caliber to think so highly of me is certainly a very cherished moment."

But Tubbs wants the evening to be about the students. "It's really all about them, and it should be," he said. "It's a wonderful night for the students, the parents, and the teachers."

The event, planned for Tuesday, honors the academic, athletic, and artistic accomplishments of the top five percent of Central and Stevens high schools' graduating classes.

    Tubbs holds a master's degree
    from Oregon State University.

Hands-on experience is something Tubbs believes in. On Friday, he returned from a three-day, two-night excursion to Montana and Wyoming with his Advanced Placement History class. The annual outing began five years ago and has expanded with more students and longer stays. The trip's original focus was the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, but there are now several additional stops. "It's a chance to learn history outside the classroom," explained Tubbs.

To teach history properly, Tubbs said, it's important to study an issue or event from all angles. He says he tries to teach his students to consider both sides of the coin. "Sometimes, in fact, there are more than two sides to consider. Every event and person we come into contact with in history deserves balanced consideration. It means the students keep open minds, and that's pleasing to me."

Tubbs has been a teacher for 27 years. The first five were as a civics teacher at West Junior High School, and the past 22 have been as a history teacher at Stevens. He was also an adjunct assistant professor at South Dakota Tech for a short time. When he started teaching, he recalled the five or six things he disliked most as a student—and worked hard to avoid them in his classroom. And he thought of several things he really appreciated as a student and tried to replicate them. "For me, 99 percent of my professional passion and energy goes into what's happening in my classroom," Tubbs said.

One of the students who chose Tubbs is Larissa Dohn. She chose Tubbs because she said he was always willing to listen to her and talk, regardless of what kind of day it was. Dohn also noted Tubbs attended several choir performances, of which she is a member, and always had an uplifting word for her afterwards. Dohn is headed to North Central University in Minneapolis and plans to focus on English education with a possible minor in music or psychology.

Karlie Haug, another of the students who selected Tubbs, said she chose him because he was one of her first teachers with personality. "He's passionate about what he does, and he made it fun for everyone," commented Haug, who will major in science and play soccer at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. "I didn't know a lot about history, but he made it exciting. He put it in perspective we could appreciate."

In addition to Dohn and Haug, Keri Lund (South Dakota School of Mines) and Makenzy Sufficool (Gonzaga University) also selected Tubbs.