Student's nomination leads to award for Plum teacher

| Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Achieving a 5, the highest possible score on the Advanced Placement calculus test, paid off for Kendra Anderson.

“It gave me a math credit, so I don't have to take math,” said Anderson, 18, a freshman at St. Vincent College in Unity Township.

Anderson, a 2013 Plum High School graduate, gives credit for her success to Plum High School math teacher Ed Staines and recently nominated him for an award given by the college.

“He just always truly believes in each of his students,” said Anderson, who is studying accounting at St. Vincent and earned a 3.94 grade-point average in her first semester.

When Anderson got an email with details about the college's Great Teacher Recognitions Program, she immediately thought of Staines and nominated him.

The award recognizes “excellence in teaching that provides a positive and enduring influence on students,” according to information from the school. Teachers are nominated by former students who are St. Vincent freshmen.

Staines, who has taught at Plum for 18 years, is one of 35 high school teachers in three states who received the award.

Teachers in Maryland and West Virginia also were recognized.

The winners received certificates.

Anderson, who aspires to be a forensic accountant with the FBI, said she took two classes taught by Staines — Advanced Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry in 11th grade and AP Calculus I in 12th grade.

Anderson said Staines began helping students prepare a month before the Advanced Placement, or AP, test.

“Not only did he prepare students exceptionally well for the AP calculus test, (but also) he made every day in his class a memorable day,” Anderson wrote in the application nominating Staines for the award.

“He wants us to learn and have a good time in his class,” Anderson said.

Anderson was pleased to find out Staines won the award. “It was pretty cool,” she said.

Staines, 48, of New Stanton, said Anderson is a model student.

“Kendra is just wonderful,” Staines said. “She enjoys class, does the work and has a wonderful attitude toward learning.”

Staines said the lessons learned in AP calculus served Anderson well when she took a scholarship test for St. Vincent.

“One question on the math part (of the test), we had just talked about a week before,” Staines said.

Anderson said she placed second in the Wimmer Scholarship Competition and received a full-tuition scholarship. Anderson said about 225 students took the test.

Staines said high school Principal Ryan Kociela walked into his classroom one day and announced in front of students that Staines received the award. The honor came as a surprise, and students clapped.

Anderson said she visited Staines at the high school over Christmas break.

“It was nice to see him,” Anderson said. “He gets a lot of students coming back to visit.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or

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