If you lived in 1776, would you have signed the Declaration of Independence if it meant risking everything you held dear, including your life?
Warren Early College High School Social Studies teacher Bryce Frohlich asked his students to think about just that during a class last week.
For Frohlich, named Warren County Schools’ 2019-20 Beginning Teacher of the Year, challenging his students to consider tough issues is one tool to help his students connect with history on a level that they can apply lessons from the past to their lives.
A native of Orlando, Fla., he earned a degree in Political Science from Florida State University in Tallahassee. As a student, Frohlich joined Teach For America, defined on its website as a diverse network of leaders who work to eliminate educational inequity by teaching for at least two years in economically challenged communities.
He thought about becoming a teacher while he was in high school and credits his teachers for helping to mold him into the person he became as an adult. That’s the type of teacher Frohlich wanted to be as a member of the Teach For America corps.
He admits that he never heard of Warren County before the program assigned him to the local school system, but he was not far away while he taught at Conway Middle School in adjacent Northampton County during training.
Ironically, Frohlich’s TFA mentor has been Adam Mogilevsky, former Warren Early College Social Studies teacher.
Frohlich arrived at Warren Early College for the 2018-19 school year just three days after he completed his training. During his first year with Warren County Schools, he taught American History, World History, and Civics and Economics.
Over the course of the year, he enjoyed building relationships with his students as he challenged them to see how history impacts their lives, the same types of relationships that Frohlich’s favorite teachers forged with him and his peers while they were in high school.
Now in his second year of teaching, Frohlich is excited to see how his students have matured. He wants the young people to learn how history relates to them.
“My proudest moment is when students are able to see themselves in history,” he said. “How does this thing that they may not be interested in affect them. The power of understanding how the world works is when education becomes liberation.”
Frohlich considers education as empowering students to interpret the world as they see it so that they can navigate the world through the position they choose for their adults lives, whether as a doctor, football player, actress or other role.
“Why wouldn’t you want the most educated people in all positions? I want to prepare (students) to make strong choices,” he said.
Frohlich also works with students as advisor to a number of school organizations, including the Student Government Association and Chess/Gaming Club, whose members hope to host a chess tournament this year.
He has grown to love Warren County not only for its people, but also for their passion as evidenced by the county’s designation as the birthplace of the Environmental Justice Movement.
Frohlich considers the Beginning Teacher of the Year award as a great honor, and Warren Early College Principal Shena Royster said that there is no question that he is worthy of such recognition.
“He always does innovative things with the kids, and they love him,” she said. “He is an excellent role model and truly cares about our students and families.”
Frohlich paraphrases a Greek proverb to describe why he became a teacher: “Society prospers when people plant the seeds of trees they may never stand in the shade of.”
For him, the proverb means that people should be grateful to have even a small part in shaping the lives of people who make a difference in the world, even if they are not around to see it.
“If everyone does this, the world becomes a better place,” Frohlich said.