While working in a corporate setting, Bryan Youngblood knew something was missing. Now as a physical education teacher and coach at Parkersburg South High School, he said he has found what he was meant to do.
“I’ve always had a passion to teach. Many of my teachers and coaches from high school inspired me and had a huge influence on me to go back to school, earn my education degree and impact lives. I do not see my teaching as a ‘payback’ to my teachers – to quote the great Woody Hayes: ‘You can never pay it back, but you can always pay it forward.’”
Mr. Youngblood said his students make it easy for him to pay it forward, especially when times are challenging. Diagnosed with a rare kidney disease in August 2001, Mr. Youngblood received a kidney transplant from his brother in 2008 that took him out of the classroom temporarily.
“While I was teaching in Pendleton County in 2013, I began to reject the transplanted kidney. I had to undergo treatments to prevent losing the transplant – treatments which physically weakened me and really took my spirit away,” Youngblood said.
When Mr. Youngblood was recovering at home, he received a handmade card from his students at Pendleton County Middle/High School.
“All of my health and PE students signed the card with a few of them writing messages of encouragement and well-being. One of the messages said, ‘BEAT IT LIKES IT’S MICHIGAN.’
Anyone who knows me, being a born and bred Ohioan, and earning my education degree from The Ohio State University, I bleed scarlet and gray. I cried and laughed at the same time as I read the student’s words.”
As both an educator and a coach for the baseball and football teams, Mr. Youngblood said his favorite part of being a teacher is that “ah-ha!” moment when he connects with a student.
“I enjoy seeing my students realize themselves and reach their potential, be it in my class or on the football or baseball field,” Youngblood said. “My favorite aspect of teaching is the satisfaction of seeing the ‘I got it’ look in students who had previously struggled with a topic or skill in physical education.”
He believes every teacher at Parkersburg South High School feels the same way and is grateful for recognitions like these to highlight the dedicated personnel who do so much for West Virginia’s schools.
“I am fortunate to teach with so many great teachers at Parkersburg South. These people are great teachers and administrators because they are dynamic people who care for the future of their students.”