Each month, students at Boone Grove High School are asked to take a poll voting for a teacher or staff member they feel made an impact on the school and its environment. This poll allows the students to vote for a teacher they feel deserves an award for all of the hard work they do.
Last month, teacher Becky DeRuntz won the poll for Teacher of the Month. DeRuntz is a well-known and well-loved English teacher among the students.
DeRuntz has been a teacher at Boone Grove for 24 years. With 26 years of teaching experience total, DeRuntz knows how to make all of her classes interesting and fun. From her thought-provoking in-class projects to her trademarked “Fun Fridays,” students always have an incredible time during her classes.
Fun Fridays are days where DeRuntz gives students a little break from normal work. She does her best to give students a fun assignment to brighten their day, such as creating a movie cast for book characters or writing small stories and poems. She is known for her good humor and her incredible fashion, both of which help make her a student favorite.
DeRuntz attended Ball State University to become an English teacher.
“My dad was my Economics teacher at Valpo High School, and I adored him and the way he connected to students.”
When asked about what she loves most about teaching, DeRuntz said, “I love making personal connections with students.”
Students that have had DeRuntz as a teacher can vouch that she is incredible to learn from. Students always know that she genuinely cares about their education, and this is evident in how she ensures that all of her students understand the material being taught. No one is ever left behind in her class.
DeRuntz’s classes are always entertaining to be a part of. DeRuntz does her best to make sure that every student is where they should be while having an immersive classroom experience that keeps students engaged.
“I try to imagine that they are all my daughter, Sophie,” she said. “I try and teach them with the love and respect I hope her teachers give to her.”
This thoughtfulness has made a difference for her students, who can feel the appreciation and kindness radiating from her.
Aside from teaching advanced freshman classes, honors sophomore classes, junior, and senior classes, DeRuntz still finds time to sponsor a school-wide book club. Books such as Stephen King’s Rose Madder and The Institute, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and Markus Zusak’s famous The Book Thief were big hits in previous years. The club members’ most current book is Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel.
With a wide variety of genres and the promise of sweet treats at every meeting, DeRuntz’s book club is always an incredible experience and new students are always encouraged to join in.
DeRuntz’s favorite book to teach is Shawshank Redemption, which is included in Stephen King’s Different Seasons. It is a very well-known story that is always adored by the students that read it.
According to DeRuntz, right now her favorite books are Educated by Tara Westover and Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.
On April 19, Academic Hall of Fame seniors were asked to attend a ceremony with a teacher who has been an inspiration. DeRuntz was invited by multiple seniors as their inspirational guest.
“Boone Grove High School is a part of my family. I feel blessed to be a teacher at Boone Grove High School,” DeRuntz said. “Our students, staff, and administration are constant reminders that there is always hope.”
COVID-19 has made some changes to the school and how classes are run, so keeping hope is something that is important to all the staff.
“Seeing students go virtual is always surprising because I get to see them without masks for the first time! Some people look completely different.”
Even though the pandemic has caused lots of changes to the school and classes, students are still making the best of it. DeRuntz has a few words to share with her students as a parting message to the seniors who will be graduating in a little less than a month.
“Shed any doubts and insecurities you have carried through high school. Now is the time to reinvent yourself!”
With her kind nature and hopeful words, DeRuntz is well-deserving of her March Teacher of the Month title.