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Jeffco Hero Awards: Rusty Owston

Jeffco Hero Awards: Rusty Owston
Posted on 11/30/2018
North Arvada Middle School P.E. teacher Rusty Owston makes a point during a class on training zones.North Arvada Middle School P.E. teacher Rusty Owston was leading his students through a lesson in training zones. Before long, he turned them loose to experience their own training zones, with the help of pedometers to track their heart rate progress. In many ways, he’s like the school’s mascot, a tireless knight who’s on a very specific quest.

“Number one is to try to be a positive role model for them.,” said Owston. “I want to teach them that hard work pays off. With struggle, comes strength. And to be nice to people. If you can do those things in life, you’re probably going to be pretty successful.”

“He puts his students and his philosophy for education at the forefront of everything he does,” added Assitant Principal Amanda Summers. “He deeply believes in every child and I think that’s part of his ethics; that philosophy he has that every child can succeed no matter what.”

“He cares a lot about his students. He does a very great job in teaching us,” student Kaitlyn Hardy said of Owston.

“He’s a great person, not only as a teacher but outside of school,” added student Mauro Ruiz.

“I want them to be a better them from the time they meet me, to the time they leave,” Owston said of his students. “We’re not going to compare ourselves to anyone else. It’s a constant struggle to always be improving.”

Owston, who’s been part of the North Arvada family since 2004, is at the school 11 hours a day, five days a week. Besides his regular instruction, he runs a before-school program for kids called SPARK, which is designed to give them an early start on physical activity. After school, he runs a weightlifting program.

“A lot of the students don’t have somewhere to go, somewhere to be, and I’ve seen the value. A lot of the students are happy to be here,” said Owston. “It’s not uncommon, a couple of days before Thanksgiving break or winter break that they’re a little disappointed. Like, ‘we’re not going to get a chance to play.’”

Owston is one of those educators who has a lasting impact. The proof is in the number of kids who’ve moved on from North Arvada, who return to say ‘hi,’ or to volunteer their services.

“I’ll be out on-duty outside, and here will come a high school kid walking up the stairs and I’ll say, ‘what are you doing here’ and they’ll say, ‘oh I’m going to help Mr. Owston,’” explained Principal Sohne Van Selus.

Owston does lots of helping too, offering up his knowledge and experience to Jeffco’s Curriculum Committee. He’s always available to help out at many different causes in the North Arvada community., as well.

“Rusty, you are an inspiration to not only the work that we do here every day but to our students who are moving forward in life and to their dreams and aspirations,” Summers said to Owston.

“And may you continue to follow your dreams and your passions, because that’s what makes you who you are. The gift that you give to North Arvada, and to all of us,” added Van Selus.

See the JPS-TV version of this story here and below.

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