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October 2012 Winner

8:54 AM, Oct 12, 2012   |    comments
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Baumgard teaches Power Equipment and Motorcycle Technology at WarrenTech. His love and understanding for mechanics, along with his determination to help his students succeed, made him an easy choice for the October winner of the 9Teachers Who Care award.

Baumgard is now in his ninth year of teaching at WarrenTech, a career and technical high school for Jeffco Public SChools. He is also a proud alum.

"If it wasn't for WarrenTech, I would never have graduated high school," Baumgard said. "WarrenTech kind of saved me. It showed me why English is important and why math is important."

Baumgard easily relates to his students. He says they are a lot like he was a teenager.

"A lot of my students are asking 'Why do I need to know how to write a composition paper?' 'Why do I need to know this algebra?' 'Why do I need to know geometry?'" Baumgard said.

Shortly after this intensive 15-hours-a-week class starts each semester, the students figure it out. Baumgard smiles when he hears them say "Ah, all these years. This is why."

Students spend a half day with Baumgard at WarrenTech and spend the other half at their "home school." That's the term given to the high school where they study regular curriculum.

For example, Baumgard graduated from WarrenTech along with Arvada High School. 

One of his former students, WarrenTech graduate Josh Hysell also got a diploma from Wheat Ridge High School. Hysell nominated Baumgard for the 9Teachers Who Care award.

"It's kind like Ed saw a diamond in the rough," Hysell said, in reference to himself.

After a move to Colorado, Hysell was not motivated to fit in. He was kicked out of his neighborhood high school after one week for getting into fights. When he transferred to Wheat Ridge High School, a teacher recommended he also look into WarrenTech.

"I knew the basics when I came here. I loved turning wrenches, but I didn't really care," Hysell said. "Then, I started to pay attention to everything Ed taught me, and I really started to learn. I wanted to learn more and more and more. Not only did I learn power equipment, motorcycle technology, automotive, but he also taught me machinery, customization, fabrication and welding."

Hysell says Baumgard also taught him a lot about love, respect and faith in others. 

"My whole life has changed because of Ed," Hysell said. "He changed the way I think. He changed the way I live."

The example that came to Hysell's mind immediately: "Getting here was hard. I had a car [break] just because you have a car doesn't mean you can put gas in it. Sometimes, he would pay for me to have gas so I could get here to learn ... out of his own pocket. When my car would break down, Ed would take me aside and let me bring my car into the shop and teach me how to work on it."

Hysell is not the only student Baumgard has helped out.

"Ed will do everything in his power to help students be successful," fellow WarrenTech teacher Sara Washington said. "There are students in his class whom he calls every night to remind them to go to bed and every morning to wake them up. He gets to know each student personally and is a vital part of their support system. Ed has helped more students than I can count get jobs in the industry and is willing to go out on a limb to get them what they need."

To all of these compliments, Baumgard is humble and barely cracks a smile.

"I think I just do what's supposed to be done. Somebody needs help in his world, you help them," Baumgard said. "There are times when I help the students with the things here, and there are times if they're homeless, we help find them a shelter. It just kind of goes with the territory. You do it for the students."

To nominate a teacher you think excels at making an impact on Colorado students, please nominate them here:

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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