By Tate Gasch
Once a month, students nominate a deserving Riverside staff member who has made an impact on someone’s life to win the Pirate Hero Award. January’s winner was the Business and Marketing teacher, Eric Wilson.
Wilson was born and raised in Washington DC, then went on to graduate from Shaw University where he studied business and accounting. When he took his first job as a financial analyst, he had no intentions of becoming a teacher.
“I had a friend of the family who said she had a position for me,” Wilson said. “I remember after working with a second grade class going home and thinking ‘Wow, they’re actually going to pay me to do this? It floored me!’’
That was in 2006. He has been involved in education ever since.
Wilson said the most inspiring teacher he had was his college accounting professor. Most of the things Wilson teaches now he learned from him. “Later on [working as a teacher] I could see some of the things he taught me coming out of myself. He was a huge influence in that regard.”
Wilson is building a similar environment of support and positivity at Riverside. Students feel like he truly cares about every one of them, and describe his teaching style as “exceptional” and “welcoming”.
“He would take at least 30 minutes at the start of the class to ask everyone how they’re doing, and no matter the response he always gave something that he meant from the bottom of his heart,” one student wrote on the Pirate Hero nomination form.
“I could write an essay on why this kind sir deserves the title of Pirate Hero,” another wrote.
Wilson’s students take pride in his safe and healthy classroom dynamic he has created.
“Sometimes I think we forget how unique we all are,” he said.” We need to adapt what we are doing to fill the needs of students.”
If Wilson could tell his students anything, he would want them to know that every moment they spend together is genuine.
“Just know that when you come here to room 244, and you get a chance to take one of my courses, that you are dealing with someone who is speaking from the heart,” he said. “Teaching is a service. And that is what we were put here to do, to serve.”
Editor’s note: If you would like to nominate a Riverside teacher or faculty member for the Pirate Hero Award, please fill out this form.