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Teacher cheers for students on the sidelines and in the classroom

Golden Apple: Cheerleading leads to math at Purdue Poly Englewood – 7:30 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — WISH-TV celebrates extraordinary teachers in central Indiana with the WISH-TV Golden Apple Award. It comes with a trophy, a school supply shopping spree to Teachers’ Treasures, and a surprise visit from the News 8 team.

  • Nominate a deserving teacher for next month’s Golden Apple Award here.

March’s Golden Apple Award winner is Miss Terrionna King from Purdue Polytechnic High School Englewood. She goes by “Coach T” and cheers for students in the classroom and on the sidelines. That’s because she’s both a math coach and cheer coach and her path into teaching is rooted in cheerleading.

“To me, Coach T’s path shows that her heart is really in it. She’s here for the kids. And when we see coaches who engage in both extracurricular activities and then also are just rocking it in the classroom, that’s a win-win for everybody,” Drew Goodin, the lead coach at PPHS Englewood, said.

All teachers are called “coaches” at the school. They guide students through education, just like a coach does for athletes. But for Coach T? Coaching is her destiny.

“A student reached out to her on Instagram because the student saw some cheerleading posts and asked her to be a cheerleading coach for our school. She said yes. And so she started at our school as a cheerleading coach,” Goodin said.

She was so successful that she also became a member of the culture team and now teaches math to freshmen.

“They love her. It is unusual to have a freshman math class where students love math in math, and our kids love math here,” Goodin said.

Just ask the students. They love going to math class because of Coach T.

“She’s an amazing teacher. She always brings the brighter side of math,” 15-year-old Carter Montooth said. 

Coach T deciphers how students learn and then makes math work for them. She creates scavenger hunts and fun activities that lift the spirits of her students.

“She’s like a battery. She’s always there to charge your day,” Montooth said. 

She does the same thing after school while coaching cheerleading.

Starice Bond and Auneece Noble are both cheerleaders at PPHS Englewood and say Coach T has helped cheer them on through high school.

“She’s someone who makes you want to be a better person. She’s someone that makes you want to have more for yourself,” Noble said. “I feel like she got me on my path of graduation. She really pushed me to get there.”

“I think she helps everybody where they need it. She’s a very one-on-one person,” Bond added. “She’s here to love us. She’s here to nurture us. And she’s here to help us grow as people into young adults.”

Latrice Crawford is the college and career manager and the diversity equity and belonging Manager at PPHS Englewood. She is also the PPHS Englewood Girl’s Basketball Coach and works alongside Coach T often.

“I think that she’s somebody that has earned a lot of trust from our students and our staff,” Crawford said. “If you are not meeting the expectations, then she’s going to be compassionate. She’s going to love you, but she’s going to also tell you, ‘Listen, you’re not doing this right.’ And she holds students accountable.”

She does this in class and on the mat. Spending any free time she has as a tumbling coach at a local gym. She spends hours after school working with students in cheerleading and her devotion to young people is noticed by her peers.

That’s why her fellow coach sent WISH-TV a nomination for the Golden Apple Award and why the News 8 team went to surprise her with the cheerleading team, in class.

“I nominated Coach T for the WISH-TV Golden Apple Award because she brings it every day and you can see it in your interactions with students that she has – in the interactions with the cheerleaders. She’s a really integral member of our staff, and we’re really lucky to have her here,” Goodin said.

So, along with the PPHS cheerleaders, Hanna Mordoh and the News 8 team went to surprise Coach T.

“This is amazing. Thank you,” Terrionna King said in shock as the cheerleaders cheered into her classroom.

When asked how she was feeling, she said “Just loved… I’m super excited that I’ve affected so many lives. That’s honestly the reason that I’m here. My intention is to – like they said, love on them and to make them better people. It just really feeds my soul.”

Coach T went on to say that her passion is rooted in cheerleading.

“It comes from cheerleading. Cheerleading was my original. It was my thing. It is all about being 100%. It’s all about being happy. It’s all about motivating other people. And so that’s really where that drive comes from motivation. I want people to be motivated, to be happy, and to be successful people,” King said.

Because cheering someone on, and lifting them to success truly is the spirit of education. A team-winning coach like this deserves to be cheered on.

To watch other Golden Apple Award recipients, click here.

To nominate a deserving teacher for next month’s Golden Apple Award, submit a detailed nomination here.