Washington Youth Academy’s Tod Hall named National Teacher of the Year

BREMERTON – Tod Hall has a way with words.

“If you squeeze a grapefruit, you get grapefruit juice. If you squeeze an apple, you get apple juice. If you squeeze a human being, you get character. And that’s what we do,” said Hall, an English teacher at Washington Youth Academy.

“We squeeze them. We don’t fix them.”

Hall also believes in the concept of ‘firm forgiveness’, which inspires these cadets to strive for and reach their goals, while providing a sturdy foundation to build upon.

As a teacher of the WYA ChalleNGe program, a state-run residential and post-residential intervention for youth who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out, he developed the English curriculum after joining the program at its inception in 2008.  But his blackboard isn’t limited to the classroom as at-risk youth who voluntarily enroll in the program discover. The Poulsbo resident is known to bring out his guitar and start singing, sparking student engagement in the structure of poetry and how words in song can have even more impact than words on paper.

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