Eastern Mennonite High School has some lovely brand-new science classrooms, and Myron Blosser ’83, MA ’98 does everything he can to get his students out of them.
Blosser, the 2005 Alumnus of the Year, could lecture from his own experience and judgments, but he’d rather let the students find out for themselves.
“Experience is the best teacher,” says Blosser, who actually teaches biology and environmental science. “There is such a wealth of information available now, that a student can become more of an expert than the teacher on any topic. I am more of a facilitator than a preacher.”
In 1998, when he taught at Harrisonburg High School, Blosser took a group of students across the country that summer to study environmental science for several weeks. Another group made a similar trip two years later. In 2003, he and other EMHS teachers in several disciplines led 22 students to the Pacific Ocean, following the trail of Lewis and Clark in the year of the 200th anniversary of their voyage of discovery.
This summer, another 22 EMHS students followed the Colorado River by bus and raft from its source all the way to Yuma, Arizona, where it enters Mexico. They analyzed the river’s water at points along the way, visited farms to see how the water was used, noticed the effects on the river of a major city (Las Vegas), visited Native American tribes, and saw the river become a shallow, muddy, warm stream by the time it reached the border.
Blosser was the biology teacher of the year in several different years (1993 from the Virginia Association of Biology Teachers, 1994 from the American Association of University Women, and 1998 from the National Association of Biology Teachers), and one of 20 teachers nationwide named to the 1999 U SA Today Teacher First Team. He has been on various state education committees, including the one that wrote Virginia’s science Standards of Learning.
Blosser taught at Strasburg High School for three years following his graduation from EMU before taking the job at Harrisonburg High. In 2001, David Mumaw— the EMHS teacher who Blosser says made him want to be a teacher in the first place—retired and Blosser moved there.
Before the EMHS job opened, Blosser was science co-ordinator for the entire Harrisonburg school system, which meant that he taught only half of the day and spent lots of time in Richmond and at conferences across the country. Coming to EMHS meant that he would once again be a full-time teacher—no more free travel and conferences, and much less of the professional exposure that leads to national awards.
Rather than missing those trips and gatherings, Blosser sees them as part of the preparation that made him able to do what he now does so well. “It feels like I am just now starting to work,” he says. “God has led me through these vast experiences to prepare me for right now.”
“I wanted my life to be seamless,” says Blosser. “I wanted my job, family, and church to be all smeared together.” He and his wife, Rhonda (C 85), have three children, all of whom attend EMHS. When Blosser says he is “now spending my energy teaching my own children,” he isn’t referring only to Kurtis, Kelsey, and Bryce. “I also mean my faith children, the ones who go to my church or are a part of my faith family,” he says.
When a student asks, he tells the student to go to the college that fits him or her the best. For Blosser, that was EMU. “EMU fit me better than anything I can ever dream of,” he says. “They took me where I was and nurtured my strengths. They affirmed my gifts, and I think they are the reason for any success I’ve had.”
Published in Crossroads, Spring 2005.