“You’ve been my greatest teacher, role model, and friend — and without you I don’t even know who I would be today.”
— Message from Darcy’s former student, Joey, in her yearbook
Here at FUMCFW, Darcy Deupree is known for many things. She is our District Lay Leader, alternate to General Conference, delegate to Jurisdictional Conference, and member of the Central Texas Conference delegation — to name a few. Outside church and inside the workforce, Darcy teaches at Southwest High School where she is now known as 2016 Secondary District Teacher of the Year for Fort Worth Independent School District. After teaching for eight years in the Career and Technology Program of Choice, focusing on audio/video production, Darcy has clearly excelled in yet another of her passions — and this recognition is one more of her many accomplishments to celebrate. “We have been so blessed to benefit from her gifts and graces,” exclaims Cheri Walton, North District Administrator for Central Texas Conference. “Thank you, Darcy, for loving the children!”
Wish you could have seen Darcy receive this award? You can! Watch this short video of the award presentation:
We caught up with Darcy to ask her a few questions about her teaching experiences. Enjoy this inspiring conversation with FWISD’s 2016 Secondary Teacher of the year — and be sure to congratulate Darcy the next time you see her — as we celebrate this outstanding leader in our faith community and beyond!
Q: What led you to become a teacher?
A: Educators in my family have made an impact for more than a century. My great-grandmother taught her students the importance of writing . . . something I see as the foundation in my audio video production courses today. Decades after she taught William Jefferson McMurtry, his son, Larry McMurtry, the author of Pulitzer Prize-winning “Lonesome Dove” and many other famous Texas novels, shared with my great-grandmother that she instilled a passion of reading and writing in his father, which was passed along to him. There is no way of truly knowing how many people Larry McMurtry has inspired with his writings . . . and it all started in a one-room schoolhouse with my great-grandmother and his father.
That story always impacted me. I was a broadcast journalism major at Texas Christian University with a double minor in education and political science. While at TCU, I student taught journalism at Southwest High School. I really enjoyed this experience and was offered a position. I told the principal then that I wanted to first gain journalism experience and then come back and teach. So, after nearly three years as a reporter and morning anchor at the NBC affiliate, I returned to Fort Worth to teach broadcast journalism / audio video production at Southwest High School.
Q: What is your first memory at your current school?
A: One of my first memories at my school was walking into my classroom and studio space and seeing a wall that had the signature of each student in the program since 1989. It really is exciting to be part of the legacy of the media program at Southwest. Very few programs in the state have been in existence for 10 years, much less more than 25 years.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a teacher?
A: My favorite part of being a teacher is seeing student progress and celebrating their successes. I teach the television side of the Advanced Media Program. Students within the Advanced Media Program produce live television and radio broadcasts about Fort Worth ISD on the district cable channel. Students gain real-world experience reporting district news from the Professional Development Center. Southwest High School students have won the SkillsUSA state Broadcast News Production contest the past five years in row. They have also placed in the top 10 in the nation for the past five years. UIL journalism has recognized AMP-TV as a gold star program, naming it one of the top programs in the state.
This year, students have reported district news, recorded daily video announcements for Southwest High School, hosted the district Whiz Quiz finals, interviewed a former NFL player, broadcast live from the Texas Social Studies Teachers conference for three days, and 100 percent of the students qualified for the state SkillsUSA contest in a number of competitions.
Q: How have your teaching goals and methods changed over the years?
A: I try to focus on student engagement and fostering positive relationships. I have tweaked my points of focus and priorities over the years.
Q: What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment as a teacher?
A: My biggest accomplishment would be making an impact on students at Southwest High School and across the country. For the past four years, I have served on the National Education Team for the SkillsUSA Broadcast News Production contest. I also served on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) rewrite committee for Career and Technology Education. The TEKS are the state standards that Texas public schools follow. They detail the curriculum requirements for every course and are rewritten every five to 10 years for CTE. The State Board of Education appointed me to a committee of five teachers to determine what should be taught in nine different CTE courses offered statewide. I was then selected to be the representative for the Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications cluster to the credits committee that determined how credits should be assigned to the more than 100 CTE courses. Following our committee work, I was selected to provide testimony to the State Board of Education.
Q: Is there a particular experience with a student that stands out to you?
A: What means the most to me as a teacher, is that not only are my students successful in their future careers as journalists, but also that I have impacted their lives. This is a note that a former student, Joey, wrote in my yearbook at the end of his senior year describing how he felt following his father’s death:
“I cannot even begin to describe how much knowing you means to me and the influence you’ve had on my life. Three years ago I lost the one person closest to me, and that summer I felt completely lost. The next year, I was mistakenly placed in your news class. I didn’t realize it then, but this wasn’t a mistake at all. I always knew my dad would watch over me, but I was always unsure of how. Now I’m certain that he has watched over me through you, as you’ve been nothing short of my guardian angel. If I ever needed anything at all, someone to talk to or help guide me through the roughest times of my life, you’ve been there. You’ve been my greatest teacher, role model, and friend — and without you I don’t even know who I would be today. You’ve taught me so much about who I am and who I want to be, but most important is what you haven’t taught me. You never taught me the words to express how thankful I am for everything you’ve done for me, but I honestly don’t think those words exist. I know he’s watched over me through you because he would only pick the very best.”
Receiving messages like this make teaching such a rewarding profession.
Q: What is your advice to other young teachers just starting their careers?
A: First of all, I would say welcome to any new teacher. Welcome to one of the most rewarding careers, welcome to one of the most challenging careers, and welcome to the profession where you truly have the power to change lives. The best way to be able to experience the many rewards of teaching, get through the challenging days, and change lives is through relationship building with your students and their families.
Q: How do you plan to spend your honorarium money?
A: Right now it is in my savings account. We will see!