Thanks to accelerated programs, junior high kids can get an early start on high school courses. From there, a few students earn some credit hours toward a potential college degree.
Hilltop’s Erik Stipe will have thirty credit hours toward an Engineering degree at Ohio State when he graduates in May.
It’s pretty easy to see why he was chosen as the school’s Franklin B. Walter Award winner this year. Aside from a stellar academic career, Stipe serves as President of the National Honor Society, has played Basketball for three years, and works as many as thirty-five hours a week at Hillside Country Living Nursing Home, though he typically works less hours during the school year.
“I’ve found it very rewarding to work out there.” Stipe said of his two year stint at Hillside.
So, when asked which teacher had the greatest impact on his academic career, one can only imagine the line of instructors waiting to accept at least partial credit for shaping this young man. Stipe chose Dan Beck, who has been retired for the last four years.
He only had Beck for one class, in the eighth grade.
“I had my mind made up who I was going to attribute.” Said Stipe.
The Cadet senior took Algebra One with Beck as he finished his junior high years, but the course is still quite fresh in his mind.
“I remember that class very well,” Stipe recalled. “and it was a great foundation to where I am now.”
In that class, Beck’s teaching style forced his students to figure things out for themselves, creating a more interactive classroom in the process, which was something Stipe absolutely loved.
“He wasn’t one of those teachers who just told you the answer.” Stipe stated. “It challenged me.”
Beck had a good reason for trying to get his students to take a more hands on approach.
“My philosophy was that if they figured something out on their own, rather than me telling them, it’ll stick with them.”
Even though it was only for one year, Beck remembers Stipe as clearly as the senior remembers his class.
“Erik was an extremely hard working, conscientious student.” Claimed Beck. “He didn’t want to be told the answers. He wanted to find out for himself, which fit in perfectly.”
And it was that drive for knowledge, nurtured by Beck, among many others, that has led Stipe to already having a years worth of collegiate coursework under his belt.
T.J. Hug can be reached at