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The GH Falcon

Humans of Green Hope: Mr. Colin Richardson

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Max Spiegel
Mr. Colin Richardson getting ready to APUSH his way through many more semesters to come.

Is he a history teacher who focuses on the morals and values of America? Is he a Green Hope High School alumni? Mr. Colin Richardson is both.  

Beginning his teaching at Green Hope High School in the 2014-2015 school year, AP United States History and Sociology Honors teacher Mr. Colin Richardson brings passion and commitment to his teaching style, which he shares with his students every day. 

What makes Mr. Richardson’s connection so special to Green Hope is that he was once a student here along with his younger brother. Now that he has children of his own, he plans on having his kids also attend Green Hope in the future. 

While Green Hope students and staff recognize Mr. Richardson as an educator, that wasn’t always his envisioned career pathway. While he loved all of his classes in school, he didn’t immediately set out to become a teacher. In fact, he was originally planning on becoming a non profit director. 

After graduating high school and doing some internships, Richardson realized being a non profit director wasn’t all that he envisioned. As he got more into what being a non profit director was all about, it didn’t strike him as what he thought was most interesting about it.

While doing work for a non profit organization, Richardson would come across an issue that would foreshadow his future of becoming a teacher. He was first given the task of teaching while he was helping run a construction non profit organization in rural Appalachia, NC. There, he was given the task to do some education for the volunteers who were going through the area. 

They began to discuss during the day about the housing problems in Appalachia. It was Richardson’s job to explain why there are inequalities in it and why there are persistent widespread issues within it. Richardson found these issues to be really important to him, as it wasnt something that wasn’t a framework that had been part of his previous education. After this experience, Richardson wanted to make sure that he was continuing to develop the curriculum that he was a part of, and share it with others. 

Moving away from working on non profits, Richardson had another year of college at UNC Chapel Hill, while his wife was already in graduate school. At that point, he was thinking about what his plan was of doing between the year he graduates college, and when his wife graduates graduate school. At the time, Richardson was the president of the UNC Glee Club, where the faculty advisor was also the director of the Masters and Arts of Teaching program at the college. After talking with his faculty advisor, he told Richardson that he would be a great fit for the program, and that he should apply. 

When it comes to teaching, every teacher has a subject that they are passionate about to educate students to. For Mr. Richardson, his primary subject is teaching AP level US history.

History has just always been super interesting to him, and teaching APUSH in particular because I feel that it is super challenging and it allows students to go in greater depth and challenge them.” 

Social studies to me at its core is very fundamental questions about how we’re living and why we’re living the way that we are. I love thinking historically and sociologically. I feel like if I’m teaching right that we are thinking together, and that it’s not me reading slides, rather that it’s all questioning together. Why are things the way that they are? What is the impact of things being the way that they are?

Richardson’s teaching career didn’t originally start at Green Hope. Instead, he taught in both Texas and Georgia before making his way back to Cary, NC. In Texas and Georgia, he taught in some schools that were pretty different from one another, both with private schools, religious schools and those that were similar to Green Hope in a way. 

The most interesting thing for Richardson was teaching in an explicitly religious context, which came with a lot of advantages and disadvantages.

The most interesting aspect to him was having a shared language in a religious setting. When talking about morals and values, which is one of things he tries to do in his classes today. Some of these values being equality, freedom, opportunity, rights and democracy.

A big part of Richardson’s AP US History class is discussing the values that America is about, and to what extent the country has actually lived up to that. To him, it’s a different set of guiding principles than when he was teaching at a religious school, but I think the idea that there should be something bigger than just disconnected facts sort pulls through.  

After teaching in Texas and Georgia for some time, Richardson and his wife got the sense that they wanted to be closer to home, being North Carolina, which motivated  them to want to move back. When they did, Richardson got a job here at Green Hope, bringing them right back to Cary. 

“What I love most about teaching is definitely the students and the community,” Richardson said. “It’s a really nice feeling to feel embedded and at home in a place. Every day, the students push me to think and to think about how the stuff that we’re talking about is relevant to their lives, but it’s especially a great thing to be a teacher at Green Hope.” 

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About the Contributor
Max Spiegel, Staff Writer
Max Spiegel is a junior at Green Hope High School, and this is his second year on the staff of the GHFalcon.  Max made his way to Cary from his home state of New Jersey.  When not working on stories, Max spends his time relaxing, working at AMC Theaters, and playing golf. Max prefers to work in groups as it allows for ideas to be shared and reviewed. Max became a part of the staff due to his preference to work in groups in order to openly share ideas.  By joining the staff, he wants to expand his boundaries.
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