At iSucceed we have pretty incredible students who successfully graduate each year. But as we all know, behind every great student is a dedicated teacher, and that’s why we started this Teacher Spotlight series so we could bring to light our caring, highly-qualified instructors whose service often goes unnoticed.
Mr. Joe Rollins, history instructor
To start our Teacher Spotlight Series, we bring you the inspiring story of one of our long-time instructors, Mr. Joe Rollins. Mr. Rollins is a social studies instructor who loves fishing, camping and reading about history—his favorite subject, as you may have guessed. What you may not have guessed is that Mr. Rollins has gone through some tough times, but he made it through and is now dedicated to helping students do the same.
Mr. Rollins was born in a small town in Tennessee to a big, loving family of three older brothers, a sister and plenty of aunts and uncles. Unfortunately, his mother and sister passed away in a car accident when he was just five years old.
When Mr. Rollins was 16 years old, he had to move out on his own. He stated that it was hard work having to support himself and still get his education.
“When I was 16, I worked two jobs, but I stayed in school and graduated on schedule,” Mr. Rollins said. “I understand how hard it can be for some students. I was there myself.”
After graduating high school, Mr. Rollins said he went into construction for about 20 years until his back prevented him from being able to work any longer, leading him to his dream job as a teacher.
“In 2003, I had spinal surgery,” said Mr. Rollins. “After the surgery, I could not do hard physical work anymore. I had always wanted to be a teacher, so I went back to school and graduated in 2008. My best day ever was the day I was hired to work as a teacher at iSucceed!”
Since he started teaching, Mr. Rollins has made a lasting impression on the lives of many students. You will often find him at our Pizza and Perks events helping students with schoolwork, as you can see in this photo.
And it’s not just students who attend our events who reap the benefits of Mr. Rollin’s wisdom. iSucceed graduate Nicole Griffith said that at her old school, she was extremely shy and felt uncomfortable participating in the classroom, but Mr. Rollins helped her gain the confidence she needed to graduate with good grades. She even presented the student speech in the 2014 ceremony! Check out this exerpt from her speech below.
“Mr. Rollins, you know something about me that no one would believe now. I’m shy…(but) you were the first teacher I was able to ask a question. After you were so helpful and encouraging, I could ask another and then another. Thank you so much for helping me find my voice and courage to be a leader”
– Nicole Griffith, 2014 graduate and student of the year
When it comes to advice, Mr. Rollins wants to tell you just one thing: Don’t give up on your education.
“If I could tell every teen in the world something, I would tell them that it is never too late to get an education. If I had gone to college right out of high school, I would have had so much more success. Learn to work with your mind and not with your back. Never give in or give up. Work hard to be the best you can be! It will pay off for the rest of your life!”
– Joe Rollins, iSucceed instructor
- Do you have an iSucceed teacher or staff member you’d like us to spotlight? Share with us in the comments below!