July Hometown Mentor: Glenvar High School teacher still reaching students during pandemic

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 6:44 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - During the coronavirus pandemic, teachers in our hometowns have had to adapt. But unlike most, one Glenvar High School teacher’s work still requires him to go into school on a regular basis.

Charles Filer is an ecology teacher at the high school. Three years ago he started a program that would bring the lessons he teaches his students to life.

“I get some amazing support and they kind of let me do some of the crazy ideas that I have,” Filer said.

Filer started a beehive program, growing from just three hives three years ago, to now around 30. He also has a greenhouse and garden space at the school where his students help with planting.

“It doesn’t feel like he’s a teacher almost. It feels like he is a colleague or a friend that we can always come to,” said senior Reese Dunkenberger. “We’re always more than happy to help him on these projects because it just makes a big difference. We love spending time with each other, as well as spending time with him.”

The whole project doesn’t cost the school or county any money, either. In fact, Filer and his students are making goods like honey, soap and lip balm from the beehives and selling them to the public.

“He really cares about us learning more than just the curriculum,” said senior Kendall Birdlebough. “It’s really important for him for us to get something out of it and see how this can help the community.”

WDBJ7 is proud to recognize Charles Filer as the July Hometown Mentor. Filer hopes the beehive program can inspire his students to not only learn, but also give back to their community.

“If I can get the kids involved, and I can get them excited about what I’m excited about, it’s a win-win for me,” he said. “To be nominated it’s really an honor.”

Under his leadership, the program at Glenvar High School continues to grow. Filer said they hope to add even more beehives and start planting fruits like strawberries in the future.

Do you have a teacher, coach or other community leader you feel deserves special recognition? Click here to make a nomination.

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