The Corvallis Public Schools Foundation (CPSF) presented College Hill High School teacher Jeff Peak with a Golden Apple award Friday. The award is presented each year to just three Corvallis School District teachers and one district staffer.
According to Anthony Rimel of the Corvallis Gazette-Times, “the award was a surprise to Peak, who also coaches three club sport teams at the school, and just about everyone else at the school, save a couple members of the office staff and principal Eric Wright.”
One of Peak’s students, Jessica Wohlwend, said Peak was a “worthy winner.”
“He cares so much, I’m not surprised (he was given an award). He does so much for his team.”
She added that she has still occasionally feels anxiety about chemistry, but Peak’s teaching has made her feel more confident.
“He’s kind of like a superhero teacher,” she said.
Jeff Peak said he was “completely shocked by the recognition,” and spoke of his commitment to teaching:
Peak said he is motivated to do all he does for students because he wants to find ways for them to get involved and feel like they belong, which will in turn motivate them to come to school.
“Kids do better when they feel like they are part of a tribe. … If we can make them feel like they belong, the academic stuff will fall into place.”
Peak said many of the school’s students have experienced homelessness, abuse or trauma, which makes it hard for them to focus on education. However, he said, College Hill has a staff that really can connect with those students.