Teacher of the Year Award 2020

Instructor Matt McKelvey won 2nd place in the Hillsdale County Community Foundation's annual Teacher of the Year award.  Mr.  McKelvey was nominated by 6 school staff members, 4 students, 3 parents, and 1 community member.  Congratulations! 

The HCCF shared the following information about Mr. McKelvey's nominations:   “Matt is a Welding Instructor at the Hillsdale Area Career Center operating under the Hillsdale County Intermediate School District.  Matt did not take the traditional route to teaching but rather started in the field of welding.  Matt’s employment in tool rooms and maintenance departments have allowed him to bring real work experience into his classroom. 

Matt describes himself as a fair, tough and reasonable teacher.  As this is a career based learning program, Matt structures his classroom as a workplace.  When students enter his classroom, he explains to them that he is their boss and they are his employees.  Their pay is their grade and deadlines must be met in a timely manner.   Preparing his students for the workplace is his ultimate goal. 

Students entering his classroom aren’t your typical students.  They aren’t the ones bound for a four-year university but rather ones looking for a trade school certification, entering the military or entering the workforce.  To assist them in their endeavors, Matt invites representatives from various trade schools to speak with his students about future opportunities.  He also invites members of the military branches.  Matt believes that everyone has a unique path to their future and is more than willing to help them on their journey. 

 However, who Matt is as a teacher was seen through the loss of one of his students.  During this tragedy, the students in his classroom lost a classmate, a teammate and a dear friend.  They were grieving and looking for a safe place to sit and digest that loss.  That place became Matt’s classroom.  Matt’s firsthand account of this story made us realize that sometimes teaching goes beyond your traditional norms.  His students weren’t looking for a teacher that day but a friend they trusted to guide them through their feelings, fears and frustrations.  They trusted him enough to choose him for that guidance.  And he was there.  He was real, honest and exactly what they needed in that moment. 

Thank you Matt for being that teacher. “