Math teacher earns Gold Star

By: Zuhayr Alam

Math teacher Richard Strike learned first period on Tuesday, April 19 that he is one of 10 2016 Gold Star Award recipients.

The award, presented by R.J. McElroy Trust and KWWL, had nearly 1,300 nominees this year in Black Hawk County, mostly nominated by parents and students.

The 10 award winners, who represent the hundreds of teachers who help students rise above and beyond every year, are granted a $1,000 award as well as $500 for classroom improvements.

Strike was shocked when he heard the news.

“I found out during first hour. The McElroy and Gold Star committee, my wife, along with a few administration presented me with the award,” Strike said. “I am truly humbled by this award. Every day I have the honor of working with educators that help our students be successful now and in the future.”

Senior Kayla Baker was elated when she heard that Strike had won the coveted award.

“I didn’t know he won until I walked into his classroom and saw the balloon and award on the back table,” Baker said. “He didn’t say anything to the class, but I knew it was a big deal. This sounds kind of cheesy, but my heart got a warm feeling because I knew he truly deserved the award. He’s had to deal with truly difficult things this past year, and he handled every bump in the road with his head up and a smile on his face.”

Given the chance, Strike knows what he would tell the people who nominated him.

“Thank you for taking the time to fill out the recommendation,” Strike said. “Your thoughts and the effort you took mean everything to me.”

Strike has had a profound impact on Baker in her time at the high school.

“Math has been my favorite subject for a while now, and I have found it easy to form good relationships with my math teachers. Mr. Strike was no different,” Baker said. “He was kind from the beginning, included everyone and worked hard to make sure class was enjoyable each and every day. I’m going to UNI to study math education, and Mr. Strike has definitely been a great role model when it comes to the kind of teacher I hope to become one day.

The program honoring Strike and the nine other award recipients will be held at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center at UNI on Tuesday, May 24 at 7 p.m.

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