NEW YORK — DuBois area native David Roush attributes his New York City teaching success to the DuBois Area School District teachers who inspired him.
Roush was among the 17 winners of the Big Apple Awards, which recognize NYC public-school teachers.
A board of judges, consisting of Department of Education officials and United Federation of Teachers and Fund for Public Schools representatives, selected full-time teachers from a record-setting 7,100 nominations, announcing the awardees May 17, according to the NYC DOE website.
Roush, a 2000 DAHS graduate, is a media communications teacher at Harry S. Truman High School in Bronx, New York. He graduated from Penn State University in 2004, then worked for WJAC-TV in DuBois for three years, moving to NYC in the summer of 2007 to work for a television network.
Roush never intended to become a teacher, until “teaching chose me,” he said. A news assignment sent him to HSTHS, where the principal appreciated his interactions with students. Ultimately, Roush was able to take an alternative pathway to getting his teaching license.
One thing he cherishes about his job is getting to have students for all four years of their secondary education, watching them “grow and evolve,” Roush said.
Nominations for the BAA are made in the fall, Roush said. Student Alpha Diallo created a group chat, encouraging classmates to nominate Roush, as well as a school alumnus and guidance secretary.
Roush wrote several essays, obtained recommendations and created a video of himself talking to the NYC DOE chancellor in order to apply, he said. A district superintendent’s office representative then observed one of his classes and he was interviewed one-on-one.
When he was an eighth grade student, DuBois Area Middle School teacher Mary Beegle formed WMSK, a school television club, Roush recalls. She also drove him to WJAC-TV in Johnstown, where he was able to tour the station and travel with a newscaster.
“That day will never leave me, and what Mary Beegle did will never leave me,” he said. “It’s that type of example that I model my work after.”
Students from that same WMSK club visited NYC for a tour with Roush May 31.
“A lot of my teachers made me the teacher I am today,” he said. “I do the things I think they would’ve done for me.”
Roush and recipients will be recognized at a Tweed Courthouse ceremony June 11, and at more than one New York Yankees game.
The awardees will serve as “Big Apple Fellows” next year, meeting monthly with one another. They are also invited to serve on the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Group, meeting twice a month and contributing to DOE policy decisions, according to www.schools.nyc.gov.
Though his original destination wasn’t becoming a teacher, Roush is “excited, humbled and thrilled,” to be recognized for what he loves.
“My mom and my teachers at DAHS always taught me that no matter what you do in life, be the best at it,” he said. “No matter what I’ve done career wise, I always put my whole self into it. It’s just in my DNA to do that.”