Rockdale graduate receives award for inspiring his students
BRYAN—After nine years of teaching at Bryan High School, Chad Cryer, a 1999 Rockdale High School graduate, has found that a little healthy arguing in the classroom can entertain and engage just about any teenager.
Lauren Hamburg, a former student of Cryer’s who was inspired by his classroom debates, nominated him for the Texas A& M University Inspiration Award for Exceptional Secondary Education, which he won earlier this month.
The award, founded by the Student Government Association at Texas A&M, aims to honor Texas teachers who have had a significant impact on students at A&M.
Cryer is one of only two recipients of the award—and the only local winner— out of a pool of nominees from all over the state.
A committee appointed by the Texas A&M student body president reviews the nominees and makes a selection.
“The best thing about this award is that it comes from her,” Cryer said of Hamburg. “Her character and work ethic combined makes it worth it. She worked a lot outside of school and never complained; she saw it as an opportunity.”
When he was presented with the award by the Bryan schools superintendent and Bryan High School principal, Cryer said, he felt overwhelming encouragement from his fellow educators.
“It’s very humbling knowing that any teacher in that room deserves it just as much,” he said.
Hamburg, a 2009 Bryan High School graduate and former student in Cryer’s Advanced Placement U.S. history class, said the teacher had a unique way of challenging students.
“He wasn’t the kind of teacher who would give you the answers, but instead encouraged [students] to come up with a solid answer on their own,” Hamburg said. “This is a skill that has helped me be a successful undergraduate. He respected the opinions and arguments of all of his students—I could never thank him enough for encouraging me and other students to think creatively and abstractly.”
The honor came with $1,000 for Bryan High School and $2,000 for Cryer, which he said he plans to spend on dresses for his threemonth old daughter and a family vacation.
“When money is not pouring in, it’s nice to have that,” Cryer said, laughing. “It is appreciated that Texas A& M goes out and does this, especially at this time of year when there is a lot of stress. It makes teachers feel encouraged and helps them want to continue to be teachers.”