Monahan wins state award; efforts appreciated

Amazing Adventurers:  Teaching his Adventure Education class, Monahan is teaching the Kayaking unit. Other units his class has done include outdoor cooking, team building activities and rock climbing.

Ellie Noffke

Amazing Adventurers: Teaching his Adventure Education class, Monahan is teaching the Kayaking unit. Other units his class has done include outdoor cooking, team building activities and rock climbing.

Connor Bedell-Fondrevay, staff reporter

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In late March, Tim Monahan, a physical education teacher, became the first South recipient of the High School Teacher of the Year Award given by the Northeastern District of the Illinois Association for Health, Physical activity, Recreation & Dance (IAHPERD), according to Principal Dr. Lauren Fagel.

The IAHPERD awards teachers from Illinois in their respective fields. The award is given out in different regions and Monahan won the award for the Northeastern district, which encompasses part of Chicago and some of its suburbs, Monahan says.

Both Stephen Stanicek, Instructional Supervisor of Physical Education, and Fagel felt that Monahan would be an excellent choice. They felt that Monahan has been working very hard to help the school and improve the various Adventure Education Programs.

“I think he’s been doing a phenomenal job with our Adventure Education Program here, [because] he’s added so many new elements,” Stanicek said. “At the same time this nomination came in, he [also] took over as Executive Chair of a new organization.”

The new organization that Monahan became Executive Chair of focuses on Adventure Education classes throughout the state and is part of the state’s governing body on education, according to Stanicek and Monahan. He has been a teacher at South since 2004, since then, he’s added a High Ropes course, while also streamlining the course into two classes, according to Stanicek and Fagel. 

“He’s sharing and networking [the Adventure Education] curriculum and education around the state and I think that’s what pushed him over the edge, and got him recognized,” Stanicek said.

In addition, he is helpful to his students, according to senior Caraline Bekas. Bekas is a Adventure Education PE leader and helps instruct the class. Monahan has shown that he is open to ideas and is a great leader, Bekas says.

“He’s okay with letting students lead which is a very rare experience,” Bekas said. “He knows when he can step back and when he needs to intervene.”

He also works to build leadership among students, according Murphy.

“There was a girl in my class who was afraid of heights and she was halfway up the wall and Monahan climbed up next to her and was up there [telling] her to go up,” Dunne Murphy said.

Every day provides a new opportunity to work on something, Monahan says.

“It’s helping students who maybe never would have had these experiences, see that they can count on themselves,” Monahan said.

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