Suburban teacher’s lessons of character, integrity abound in classroom, frisbee field

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. - He teaches anatomy and physiology at Neuqua Valley High School in suburban Naperville. But once a week he dwells on topics far less scientific. This month’s honoree experiments with lessons in character, integrity and respect.

Arnoush Javaherian, teacher of the month: “Being a teacher, it’s almost my duty or responsibility to help these younger individuals grow as human beings and adults and hopefully become better people.”

Bridget Ashe, nominating student: “There’s a new topic every week, and we all discuss it and then he gives us his gist and why he thinks it’s important. It’s really impacted all of our lives.”

Bridget Ashe nominated Mr Javaherian – or just ‘Java’ as his students call him -- for teacher of the month consideration. She expressed her gratitude with a simple phrase – describing herself as ‘a very thankful student.’

Mr Java: “Humbled. Extremely humbled. To hear that my student is grateful just absolutely makes me feel humbled because it makes me feel like I’m doing my job.”

Bridget Ashe: “He definitely deserves this just because pretty much from the first day of school I realized this teacher is going to be awesome, and he didn’t disappoint. He’s so passionate about what he does, and you can really tell he wants students to succeed.”

His lessons in anatomy are animated. His drawings and projected images keep the students engaged in what can be a complex curriculum.

Bridget Ashe: “It’s a dual credit course, so he treats it like a college course.”

On the day of our visit, the focus was human optics. But outside, he and his three-time state champs gave us a lesson in hand-eye coordination. Mr Java also coaches the ultimate Frisbee team.

Mr Java: “The players are absolute role models, and it’s an honor to be their coach.”

Dylan Power, Neuqua Valley HS / ultimate Frisbee player: “Every topic he talks about in class carries over to Frisbee. We have to earn his respect, he has to earn our respect so if we respect each other in our own ways then the team work builds and the coaching relationship builds.”

In honor of Mr Javaherian’s achievements in and outside of the classroom, Saint Xavier University presented him with a $1,000 check.

Bridget Ashe: “I couldn’t really imagine senior year without Java. He is such an amazing teacher, and I’m incredibly grateful to have him.”