Thanks to Teachers: Matthew Hurd
At Mitchell High School, Matthew Hurd's American history class reviewed what they've learned about the "Gilded Age."
Hurd, who has taught history at Mitchell High for 17 years, is a former Marine who says he always loved American history.
"I just hope they have a better appreciation of the folks that went before us and the sacrifices they made on our behalf, not just military, but people who stood up for what they believed in, practiced free speech, and helped move the country forward one more generation," Hurd said.
When Hurd was a student at Mitchell, in the class of 1990, he admits he was not on track to teach anything.
"Very poor. Very poor," Hurd said when asked what kind of student he was. "I graduated. I was not a very good student at all."
However, Hurd said his time in the Marines, which included stints in Japan and Korea, changed that.
"My world travels allowed me to explain things a little bit better to kids. I could give them personal stories of things I experienced, places I went to, people I met," he explained.
"He's funny, and he makes lots of jokes," student Hannah Hollifield said. "He tells personal stories, and it makes it easier to listen and fun to learn."
"He just really brought history alive," former student Anna Zheng said of Hurd. "It was fun to come to his class."
There's a wall in Hurd's classroom full of American symbols that he painted himself.
"It makes it a history classroom," Hurd said of the colorful wall.
While many of Hurd's students fall in love with American history inside the colorful classroom, the popular teacher said he also sees the 1990 version of himself in some of his students, and that's OK.
"Just because a student is not the best in the world at the time, you can still give them some things that will help them later in life," Hurd said.