Madison, Ala. (WHNT) - Discovery Middle School math teacher Anthony Graham is not only known for helping math make sense for his students, but he's also big on teaching character. His R.U.F.F. program (Ready yoUrself For the Future), empowers young men to become leaders through mentorship and community service.
He is this week's Tools for Teachers award winner and recipient of 319 dollars to spend as he see fit in his classroom. As a testament to his success as a math teacher, it was an 8th grader named Katie who nominated Mr. Graham for this award. She says Mr. Graham changed her whole outlook on math.
"In 6th grade I was doing horrible in math. I dreaded 7th grade, math being the reason. Once it started I had no problem at all. Mr. Graham was always there. He cared," Katie wrote in her nomination email.
Of course, between his commitment to being an outstanding math teacher and his R.U.F.F. program, Mr. Graham has to make a considerable sacrifice of his personal time, coming in to school early, staying late, and working through he weekend. He credits the Air Force for fostering his work ethic and integrity.
And it appears the sacrifice is paying-off. His R.U.F.F. program has grown to over 650 young men and is continuing to expand. He and other adult volunteers have taken groups of more than 50 boys to meet inspirational male figures like Tim Tebow, John Stallworth, and Emmitt Smith. Additionally, they provided families with turkey dinners during Thanksgiving and will be visiting cancer patients at St. Jude hospital, bringing them Christmas gifts.
Obviously, Mr. Graham sees the job of a teacher as more than someone teaching facts and figures.
"My goal overall is to make an impact. From the first day, I hold up a math book and I say: 'You’re going to learn this one day, but I want you to be a student of character every day.'"
If you know a worthy teacher, coach, principal, or aide, tell us about them through the Tools for Teachers nomination form.