Golden Apple

Avon physics teacher uses creativity, humor to inspire students

AVON, Ind. (WISH) — When you’re an expert on things like gravity, force, energy and mass, you generally like to be aware of everything happening around you. For Mr. Zachary Rohrbach, physics teacher at Avon High School, our Golden Apple surprise came way out of left field.

“Is this live?” he asked the camera, as our WISH-TV Golden Apple team and his first period physics class swarmed him in the cafeteria this month.

Earlier this month, four of his students told our team all about why Mr. Rorhbach is one of their favorite teachers, whether they like physics or not.

“No matter what your learning style, you can find something to like about Mr. Rohrbach,” said Aidan Hall, a junior.

“He’s like, weird funny,” laughed Genesis Dyson, senior. “He makes all these jokes about Star Wars and I don’t know what he means but he’s like quirky funny and he’s great.”

“He drew a picture of a cat,” said Mya David, describing a physics symbols lesson, “because it’s called mu and a cat says ‘mew’ so it made us remember it.”

“[Learning] is kind of hard for me without certain things, so having him there in a humorous kind of way, it helps me learn a little better,” said Emma Baysinger, a sophomore.

“I don’t really like math kind of classes but I really enjoyed that class and had fun in it,” said Lauren Fitch, a junior.

Other students explained he supports and befriends them outside of lecture. Mya David said she passes Mr. Rohrbach every day in the hallway, and he calls out to her just to say hello and wish her a great day.

“It shows me that I’m more than just a body in a classroom. It shows my teacher cares about me and cares about how I’m doing,” said David, a sophomore.

“This school is big. It takes a lot for a teacher to make a mark on you,” said Dyson. “I feel like he does that.”

“I was disappointed that I met Mr. Rohrbach late in my high school career because just in the first few weeks I’ve had class with him, he really clicked for me,” said Hall. “When I leave high school I’m going to remember him for a long time.”

They described physics labs including shooting rockets outside the high school, calculating the time and aim to land a water balloon on his head, and sending battery-powered cars shooting away from groups of smiling high school students.

Hall also explained his manner in working with kids struggling with physics principles.

“He’s very… gentle. Sounds weird,” said Hall. “But if a kid’s having an issue, he’s very calm about it.”

So early one morning, we sent Mr. Rohrbach a note calling him down to the principal’s office. As he walked past the cafeteria to the office, we flagged him down with a large TV camera and cheers from his students.

“You did catch me off guard,” he laughed, still taking in the crowd and the cameras.

Our partners at Bailey and Wood Mortgage Lenders presented Mr. Rohrbach with the Golden Apple Trophy and a jumbo $500 check. We watched the nomination video from his students .

“What keeps me in the field is not what brought me to the field. I came into the field because I love physics and I like talking about physics but I stay and I love it because of you guys,” said Mr. Rohrbach, turning to his students. “Thank you for being there for me and I do appreciate it.”

Our Golden Apple team is already looking ahead to December’s winner. Nominate a teacher in your life here, and tell our team a fantastic story about them. Visit the Golden Apple homepage to watch other Golden Apple surprises.