MHS teacher/coach in IHSA Spotlight

Hill being recognized for going beyond the call to positively impact students

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MENDOTA – COUNTRY Financial and the Illinois High School Association have teamed up this school year to recognize teachers throughout the state for their contributions to their school and students through a “Teacher Spotlight” social media campaign.

Keegan Hill, a Mendota High School faculty member in the Special Education Department and a coach, will be featured in the “Teacher Spotlight” the week of June 14-19. Hill was selected from a field of deserving candidates for his service to MHS, and he will be recognized on social media by the IHSA with an eye for the release on ihsa.org and across the IHSA’s social media platforms on Thursday, June 17.

The “Teacher Spotlight” campaign is designed to recognize the efforts of educators going beyond the call of duty to positively impact the lives of students in and out of the classroom. MHS principal Denise Aughenbaugh said Hill is a very deserving candidate to be bestowed this honor.

“I have observed with great pride as Coach Hill devotes countless hours to additional tutoring and mentoring of our students,” commented Aughenbaugh. “Mr. Hill goes beyond the academic lessons and also focuses on social emotional learning needs. He focuses on teaching students important life skills, such as communication.

“Student-athletes would voluntarily sign up to have conversations with adults in school and build their communication skills. He also helps students learn to overcome adversity and build resiliency in their work ethic and perseverance.”

Hill, who is also the head football and boys’ track coach, said he is thankful to receive this award, and that it shows the time and energy invested in the students and student-athletes is noticed. He cited numerous ways of communicating with students and getting them involved in projects and programs, from delivering Gatorade shakes/bars to every house on the team during lockdown to check-in phone calls to reflection letters, building bridges between all areas of the school building – from technology to agriculture – which has helped in the Special Education Transitions program.

“All of these are done to show we care about the young people in our school and they are worth our time, energy and attention,” said Hill. “When we believe in them and they believe in themselves, they can achieve a lot.

“When people are trustworthy, caring and compete in life, look out. This is always true, but even more so this school year.”

Aughenbaugh noted that Hill encourages students to use their skills to give back to others, and his “contracts” with student-athletes are visible throughout the school and reinforce a positive school community.

“Mr. Hill asks students how they will make themselves better, how they will make their team better and how they will make their school better,” she said.

“And I would emphasize that Mr. Hill tries to build the capacity to make himself and his fellow coaches and teachers better. He is frequently seeking opportunities to build efficacy and capacity in the art and science of teaching.”