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Whipple emphasizes global citizenship in teaching passion

WHIPPLE’S WISE WORDS: Speaking to his AP World class, Matthew Whipple leads a dicussion that includes a balance of current events and topics outlined in the world history curriculum. Whipple takes many of the themes from this class and applies them to STAND For Peace (STAND), the international service club that he has sponsored for over 10 years.

Katelyn Luckey

WHIPPLE’S WISE WORDS: Speaking to his AP World class, Matthew Whipple leads a dicussion that includes a balance of current events and topics outlined in the world history curriculum. Whipple takes many of the themes from this class and applies them to STAND For Peace (STAND), the international service club that he has sponsored for over 10 years.

Jane Rathod and Youjin Shon

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Just over 30 years ago, Matthew Whipple, Social Studies teacher, walked across the stage to receive his South diploma. After graduating from Northwestern University in 1987, Whipple later returned to South to fulfill his passion of teaching.

According to Whipple, before he got offered a full-time job at South as a teacher, he went to Texas for four years. However William Schreiner, former South principal, called him back to work in Glenview. Whipple has always wanted to return and work in South’s environment.

“This is home for me,” Whipple said. “I’ve been a student here. I grew up in Glenview. When it became clear that I was going to be a teacher, which wasn’t the plan, I’ve always wanted to come back here. A position opened and they offered it to me in 1992, and I was really excited.”

According to senior Caroline Bodnya, a student in Whipple’s AP World History class, he is a teacher who is able to help students stay engaged in all his classes.

“He brings in a lot of things from when he travels and other things he learns from history books or videos,” Bodnya said. “Class is always very in-depth about topics, so you really get to know the material beyond [the course material].”

In addition to his resources and props, Whipple also enjoyed using sarcasm to release the natural, strong tension and stress built up in his classes.

“I’d like to think I have a sense of humor,” Whipple said. “I’d like a classroom to be comfortable, so I think humor is appropriate in a classroom. I teach classes in which some of the things taught are very serious […] but other times, I think it’s important to laugh.”

Not only is Whipple a Social Studies teacher, but he is also the director of the Glenbrook Academy of International Studies, the president of the Glenbrook Education Association, a community member and the sponsor of STAND for Peace (STAND). Due to his many roles, he is known all around South and even North.

“I get to spend time with people [at South], and I get time to spend with unique groups of students,” Whipple said. “I get to know all the teachers […]. I’m sort of famous; […] people know who I am. If I show up at a meeting, people will be like, that’s the teachers’ association guy.”

The club, STAND for Peace, or Students Taking Action Now for Darfur, was created just over 10 years ago by two students to bring awareness to the genocide happening in Darfur, Sudan. Disturbed by the issue, Whipple and the two students successfully created the club. The number of kids who entered the door astonished Whipple.

“The three of us thought no one’s coming [because] it was the week before break,” Whipple said. “But 50 kids showed up. We were blown away.”

In STAND, Whipple and the club are currently sponsoring Purity, a girl from Kenya, to send her to school. He was hoping to sponsor her for a total of four years continually so that she could receive the proper education she needs.

“If we’re going to sponsor someone, we need to commit for four years because the worst thing that happens to the kid is some sponsor from far away says [she] can go to school and it’s [only] one year and then the sponsor pulls out, and the kid is right back where [they] started again,” Whipple explained.

Along with being the sponsor of STAND, Whipple is also an activist, standing up for what he believes is right or wrong and what should be done in this world, according to Terrence Jozwik,  instructional supervisor of the Social Studies Department, and Katrina Prockovic, Whipple’s wife. They both believe that his passion for helping people dated back to when Whipple was a student at Northwestern.

Jozwik nominated Whipple for the Power of One Award sponsored by the Holocaust Museum, which awards one person’s action for making a difference in many lives of others.

“He was a member of an organization called the South African Anti-Apartheid Alliance,” Jozwik said. “He spent an evening in jail before charges were dropped. As a member of this organization, he also testified at the United Nations for the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid.”

According to Prockovic, Whipple is a humanist who feels that he needs to help other people to the best of his abilities. He is vigilant with current and past historical events and works hard to bring change to the world. Though he has visited a variety of places including China and Mexico, he wishes to travel to even more countries to learn about the different cultures around the world.

“He considers it his duty as a human being and a citizen of the world to be engaged with what’s happening,” Prockovic said.

In the future, Whipple wants to improve as a teacher to help students achieve greater success and guide them to learn about the world around them.

“I am not perfect, and I know [it],” Whipple said. “I want to be the best teacher that I can be to prepare my students to go have future success.”

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Whipple emphasizes global citizenship in teaching passion