Once a Viking, always a Viking: Former students return to BHS as teachers to give back

Not everyone considers school a place they want to be, but some students aspire to become teachers and create a fun and enjoyable learning environment for the next generation. Over the years, some teachers have felt a connection that pulled them back to Bryan High to help other students and provide them with some of the experiences that made them fall in love with being a Viking.

“I just had the best experience at Bryan High,” biology teacher Katie Watson said. “My middle school years were kind of rough, but coming to Bryan High was a lot easier. I made a lot of friends I’ve had my entire life here and this is where all of the teachers that inspired me in the first place were and still are. It’s hard to want to get away from that whenever you know the kind of community those teachers have created and everybody’s been super supportive.”

Agriculture teacher Kristen Schuler graduated from Bryan High in 2008 and felt a sense of pride during her time here, part of which was due to her participation in academic events, and feels that same pride is carried on by today’s students.

“I understand the pride some of these kids feel from being in sports and stuff because I was a cheerleader when I was here,” Schuler said. “I know how it feels to be a student at BHS and what it means to be a Viking.”

Other teachers have strong ties to Bryan High because their parents taught here before them and created a sense of Viking pride at an early age. 

“Bryan is home for me and BHS has always had a special place in my heart,” basketball coach Jerron Reese said. “When I knew I was going to pursue a career in coaching and teaching, I knew immediately where I wanted to work. The Viking Pride runs strong in my family.”

Reese recognizes Bryan High as a place with deep roots and strong traditions.

“Being a ‘Bryan kid’ helps me to understand what a lot of our students go through on a daily basis,” Reese said. “Bryan High is a unique place with a wide array of students with different beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and home situations. Having gone through Bryan High when there was only one high school in town helped me assimilate and get to know many people who were different from me.”

Teaching is a work of passion for Reese and he enjoys coming to work each day because of the students.

“I got to see firsthand the positive impact that he made on his students and players and I knew instantly that I wanted to make the same difference in the lives of others,” Reese said. “Taking what I’ve learned throughout my time as a student and applying it to my teaching has ensured my success here at BHS.”

Photography teacher Caylee Davis’s time in high school allowed her to be able to get what the students are going through and be more understanding as a teacher.

“I personally didn’t have the easiest time in high school, so I think I can relate to the kids who are stressed in school and aren’t necessarily loving it,” Davis said. “I understand that high school is only one part of your life. You just have to do the best that you can while you’re here so you can move on to bigger and better things.”

Davis speaks highly of principal Lane Buban, crediting him with the culture to which BHS students take pride.

“During my four year span at Bryan High, we went through three principles, and Buban was my middle school vice principal,” Davis said. “I honestly think Buban has done so much for this school. I can tell that the students like it more than when I was here and I think Buban has a lot to do with that. I think his policies and how he relates to the students has made a huge difference. I feel like staff and students nowadays are happier with the way the school is run.”

Government teacher David Wilson believes passing on knowledge is a big part of teaching, and wants to help his students love school as much as he did.

“I like learning and I think learning is really important,” Wilson said. “I wanted to be a teacher because I felt like I could help people.”

Wilson thinks community involvement is important, and wants to help his students grow as citizens.

“I’m really counting on my students to help Bryan/College Station grow,” Wilson said. “If they stay here, I want them to become good citizens. And I want to help them grow, passing it on. There are still some of my teachers here that I had when I was in high school. I think they gave a gift to me through education, and I just want to return that back to my community.”

Other teachers agree that a focus on community has changed the culture of the school in a positive way.

“I think that it feels like the community is definitely more involved with the school,” Watson said. “Not that they weren’t whenever I was still here, it just feels like it’s gone to another level. The school does a lot more outreach with their different programs, but also that could just be because when you’re a student, you don’t necessarily recognize all of those things.” 

Events like Trunk-or-Treat and other community activities have added complexity to BHS that goes beyond academics.

“I think with the school actively trying to do more out in the community, that relationship has gotten stronger,” Watson said. “It is really exciting because it’s fun to see people being supported for the amazing things they do.”

Watson sees Bryan High as the perfect fit, and loves being able to help students every day.

“I don’t see how I could teach anywhere else,” Watson said. “I love this school so much. There really isn’t a school that I could envision that would be better for me. It’s just the best fit; we have such great support. Sometimes the kids are challenging, but they’re the reason I end up coming to work every day.”