MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon High School social studies teacher John Robert “Rob” Fetters has received the National Education Association’s Applegate-Dorros Peace and International Understanding Award.
Fetters received the award because his activities in education contribute to international understanding and motivate youth to work for world peace. Individuals who nominated him for the award said Fetters has fostered students’ desire to see and appreciate the world, giving them a global perspective.
“It’s a global society,” said former social studies department chairwoman Robin Hren. “Rob brings the world into his classroom, not just with textbooks, but with people.”
Fetters has hosted teachers from Japan and China and college professors from Kenya who have interacted with and taught students from the Mount Vernon area, introducing the students to firsthand experiences in culture and art from around the world. Fetters also coordinates the annual Japanese-inspired art contest in conjunction with The Ohio State University Institute for Japanese Studies.
In his acceptance speech at the NEA convention in Washington, D.C., Fetters encouraged fellow teachers to keep a global perspective. “I want to challenge everyone to not lose sight of the rest of the world,” he said. “Continue to bring the world to our students. Teach students to walk in the footprints of others. Seek out opportunities for them to explore beyond themselves. If you have an opportunity to travel, to host an international student or teacher, to use technology to talk directly with people all over the world or to cooperate on a project together, then share it with the students. And when you create the opportunity to reduce someone’s suffering anywhere in the world, through disaster relief donations, the giving of water buffaloes or other animals, or by folding a thousand paper cranes, share that with the students. Not only will it make the world a better place, but it will empower our students.”