A big part of Steve Wetherald’s job as a special education teacher and graduation coach at Bend High is to encourage students to graduate and go to college.
Thursday morning, Wetherald was recognized for his past seven years of helping students when he was named Central Oregon Regional Teacher of the Year by the Oregon Department of Education.
“I’m feeling pretty anxious and nervous but also really flattered and proud,” Wetherald said.
Raul Sanchez, a former Bend High student, said while he was in high school, Wetherald pushed him and his friends to take AP classes and continue their education beyond Bend High.
“We are all actually college graduates now,” Sanchez said. “To be honest, we wouldn’t be here without Steve. And I mean that.”
Sanchez received a degree in accounting from Linfield University and he now works for the state of Oregon in Salem.
When Wetherald was named Central Oregon Regional Teacher of the Year, Sanchez wasn’t surprised.
“Steve is exceptional,” Sanchez said. “He does more than he should, I would say. I’ve had many great teachers, but the way Steve takes his job so seriously makes him stand out.”
Wetherald said he’s honored by the nomination and award.
“For my students, I hope it inspires them to work hard and take pride in what they do, whatever they want to do for their job or future education,” Wetherald said. “I want them to be proud of their job.”
Wetherland will now be considered for the 2022 Oregon Teacher of the Year award, which will be awarded this fall.