While some teachers struggle to motivate their students to sell during HHS’s annual magazine drive, others seem to have a secret panacea that puts their classes among the top performers every year.

English teacher Sam Gilbert falls into this latter category. This year Gilbert was third in overall money collected with $3,063 and first in average amount collected per student with $255.25. His classes consistently finish in the top 10.

“They’re excited about it, they want to win, and they’re motivated,” said Gilbert, who has only a dozen students in his first-block class yet still managed to raise more total money than classes with 30 or more students. “They also encourage each other.”

And they’re focused too; Gilbert makes sure of it. He said his sales are stronger when he talks up the magazine drive every day of every week of the sale.

Chemistry teacher Clancy Hall also puts a lot of time into the drive, and like Gilbert, Hall is a perennial powerhouse. This year his first-block class of 16 students raised about $2,825 overall (fourth highest), which works out to $176.56 per student (also fourth best).

“I try to make it a point of importance for our class and then also for us as a school,” Hall said. “It is a way for all of us to be on a team.”

Although emphasis and motivation go a long way (teachers aren’t supposed to offer academic rewards, but treats are a popular incentive), a good deal of luck is also involved. Teachers fortunate enough to draw an honors or advanced honors class for first block usually do better in sales than those who do not. Gilbert teaches Advanced Honors English, for example, while Hall teaches Honors Chemistry.

In fact, a Ville News analysis of the top sellers for this year shows that all but one of the top 10 finishers in average amount collected per student _ the fairest measure since it accounts for disparities in class size _ teach a first-block honors or advanced honors class. In many cases, the average amount collected per student in the leading honors classes is 10 or more times higher than that of some standard classes.

“I think students in honors classes have more resources,” said Assistant Principal Lisa Jaskot, who was responsible for trying to help motivate students to sell. Honors students, she said, also tend to be more competitive on average than standard students.

Even so, regardless of which teachers lead and which teachers lag, the entire school seems to win with the magazine drive. The money _ $69,516 this year, according to statistics from the administration _ is used for equipment and improvements that benefit everyone. Last year, for instance, the drive paid for new computers in the Vol State Lab, as well as for some renovations to the building.

“Mr. Cotter tries to add one new laptop cart a year … to give more students access to technology,” Jaskot said. “Technology is always a big initiative, trying to increase our availability.”

Following is a ranking of the top 10 teachers by average amount collected per student in the magazine drive. Only Christy Brown’s Marketing I class was not an honors or advanced honors class: Gilbert ($255.25), Tummons ($201.06), Brown ($191.25), Hall ($176.56), Kotler ($157.36), deJorge ($132.29), Walker ($96.93), West ($93.13), Allen ($78.87), and H. Thomas ($69.31).


Story by Kyra Hodge


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