Jim Reed, Washougal High School history, was selected at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4278 Teacher of the Year for 2019. He will be honored, along with local students who won top awards in the recent VFW essay contest, at an event on Sunday, January 12 at the Camas Community Center.
In a nomination from Kathy and Ray Loney, Reed was described as teaching the importance of citizenship, providing leadership in student community service projects, encouraging essay submissions and connecting students with Veterans.
“I have had my classes write the VFW Voice of Democracy Essay for the past seven years, and fortunately our students have written outstanding essays,” Reed explained. “Student participation in the essay contest and honoring Veteran’s on Veterans Day are ways for us to show our appreciation to those that have served and are currently serving. Luckily, I have had fantastic mentors along the way including Kathy Loney, Ryan Isaason, and Brian Amundson.”
“When there is a local or national election, Jim involves his students in the process by having them read through the voter’s pamphlet and select candidates and decide on proposed initiatives,” the Loneys said. “Then, he holds a debate between opposing voters on each position and initiative. The students vote and wait for the public results to be tabulated and compare their class votes to actual public results.”
According to the nomination, Reed attended Washington State University and earned his teaching credentials in 2004. Later, he taught History and was the advisor for the Associate Student Body (ASB) for five years. His first year as ASB Advisor, he helped to develop the popular Stuff the Bus community service project where school buses are used to collect non-perishable food and other items donated by school families and students before the holidays. “This service project has lasted for twelve years,” Loney explained. “Camas schools joined Washougal in this project which soon became a challenge between the two districts to bring in the most food to help those in need.”
“Patriotism to me is about duty to serve, whether it is in the military or the community,” Reed said. “I want every student in my class to know that serving something other than themselves is how we make this a better place and build up our community.”
In their nomination, the Loneys also pointed out that Reed frequently invites military veterans into his classes to speak to students every year on Veteran’s Day. “He supports his students when they are invited to write a Voice of Democracy essays on a chosen topic,” they added. “Also, his grandfathers served in the military during WWII.”
WHS teacher and coach David Hajak won the award in 2017 and WHS ASL teacher Tami Grant won for 2018.
“The Washougal community has the biggest heart,” Reed said. “I have seen this over the past 15 years that I have been in the district. I am honored to be recognized by the Veteran’s, it is very humbling, and I am grateful to them. This is an honor that means a lot to me but a true testament to my family and mentors.”