I am honored to introduce our September Graider of the Month, Douglas Clark. Doug is a senior at Biola University studying English with an emphasis in creative writing. He is the inaugural Graider of the Month for the 2016/17 school year, as well as our very first male recipient. None of these “firsts” surprise me, however, as it’s clear from the moment you speak with Doug that he is an exceptional student and is not afraid to carve his own path in life.
When Doug graduates from Biola this winter, he will be pursuing a master’s degree to continue his English studies. He especially loves British literature from the 1800s and early 1900s, reading about how society was back then and relating it to modern times. Doug is also deeply passionate about raising awareness and support for the deaf community. In addition to English, he wants to pursue American Sign Language studies, possibly even becoming an interpreter. This work is incredibly important to Doug as he believes in bridging the gap between different cultures, fighting for equality, and being a voice for those who don’t have one. “Deaf culture is often overlooked in today’s society, and I want to change that. I want to bring a voice to the community and create unity.” We are confident that the diversity of his studies and work with the deaf community will make Doug a stronger writer and more competent, compassionate teacher.
Impact work has always been important to Doug, which is one of the reasons he is so passionate about teaching and learning. “Learning opens so many doors in life. I am always trying to learn and grow and share that with others around me. When you can be a source of support and encouragement for a student it’s an incredible thing.” And Doug has been just that this school year. In one short month, he has worked with three different teachers and hundreds of students. The teachers have praised Doug for his fast feedback, insight, and thorough work. We can only imagine how impactful he’ll be when he enters the classroom one day! And best of all? The feedback Doug gets from teachers in return helps him to continue to grow in his own learning and writing. Every assignment is a chance to develop as a writer and teacher.
Doug’s advice for future Graiders? Take student work seriously! “Whenever you are giving feedback, be reflective, thoughtful, and sincere. Students will take your words to heart and learn from them. This is your chance to make a real impact.” In fact, Doug can still remember feedback he got from his 8th-grade English teacher, and even today he often reflects on it when he is writing. This is an amazing example of just how powerful good feedback can be!