Whipple Honored with Texas History Teacher of the Year Award


Sirena Gatica

Cherry Whipple recieves the Texas History Teacher of the Year award.

Xander Christou, Staff Writer

U.S. history teacher Cherry Whipple was honored in the PAC on Sept. 21 with the Texas History Teacher of the Year award from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and has received many awards as of late.

Throughout her 14 years of teaching history, Whipple has designed and implemented an effective and engaging curriculum, which led a panel of educators to recognize her with this momentous award as well as many others; in addition to the most recent one, she has received the Outstanding Teacher of the Humanities award from Humanities Texas, and the James Madison Fellowship. Her teaching and professional work have been recognized both locally and nationally and help boost her scholarship, or high-level studying, in her subject.

“Besides pulling me out of the classroom a lot, I think the awards provide me with the opportunity to increase my scholarship and opportunity and increase my scholarship in history,” Whipple said. “I’m getting my graduate degree now, and that teaching award is for a lesson plan; it makes my lesson planning stronger. It also provides opportunities for students.”

In addition to being recognized, Ms. Whipple was gifted both Texas and American flags, honors from the city, and the city of Austin recognized a new ‘holiday’: Cherry Whipple Day.

“Oct. 10, 2018, was a proclamation from the mayor to celebrate me. It was an honor that came along with the Gilder Lehrman Award. Certainly, I’m honored; I’m not the only one who received the proclamation, but it made it fun when you can say ‘I have Cherry Whipple Day,’” Whipple said.

Whipple’s teaching style is well-respected, and through rigorous assignments and projects, prepares students for the AP test in May. Her course increased qualifying scores from 30% to 75+%.

“I think she’s really well organized. She does a really good job about making sure we know the material, and we have a good idea of what to expect on the tests,” AGS junior and APUSH student Sebe Shearer said.

AP English teacher Nadine Cooper works hand-in-hand with Whipple to create a multidisciplinary and interactive learning experience.

“In some ways, she’s a mentor, and in some ways, I can aspire to her organization. I don’t think I have that ability,” Cooper said. “I can’t think of someone who deserves it more. I think it’s her dedication to her students and the love for what she does is being shared, the dedication and respect for this job professionally–it’s well deserved.”

Cooper believes Whipple’s impact on students is significant and she makes learning more interesting, allowing for more students to succeed beyond their expectations.

“The work is purposeful and meaningful,” Cooper said. “I’ve seen students struggle at the beginning of the year achieve far beyond what they believed they could. She really tries to help students balance their life and schoolwork and see things as part of that whole, and also see students and value them for who they are and try and get them to do that for themselves.”

In addition to being colleagues during the school day, Cooper and Whipple are good friends who can sometimes be seen doing yoga together after school.

“We’re really good partners, we promote American studies as a team–[Cooper]’s the one with the words, and I make the words happen. We do a lot of things together. I’m sure she’ll win an award soon because I’ll be filling out her applications. That’s what friends do.” Whipple said.

Whipple continues to pursue opportunities and grow as a historian and scholar by being involved in opportunities outside of school. She is currently working on creating a webinar/course based on Native Americans with the National Humanities Center and the Library of Congress because of a grant.

“I feel validated in my teaching, so there’s that pride in myself, but also honored that I was selected over so many other qualified people,” Whipple said. “I’m excited about all the additional honors that are being presented by winning this award; I wouldn’t have gotten that opportunity if I hadn’t won the awards, and I think that receiving these awards relates to the activities I’ve been doing in the past couple of years. 2018 I’ve done so much; it’s the year of Cherry.”