‘Game for anything’ Holy Spirit teacher Jeff Locke receives prestigious award

By Mark Squibb/July 15, 2022

Jeff Locke of Holy Spirit High has been named a recipient of the 2022 Premier’s Award for Teaching.

“For me, the greatest honour was in the nomination,” said Locke. “My department head, Renée Boyce, lead a team of teachers and students to nominate me, and I think the real prize was to look at some of the kind things people said during the process… You don’t realize the impact you can have sometimes. So, I felt like a winner just being nominated.”

The award recognizes teachers who have demonstrated innovation in instruction and a commitment to preparing students for future success.

“I always try to find new ways to involve students in school, and in the curriculum as well,” said Locke. “I take a course and try to impart it in such a way that it teaches more than just the material. I try to diversify the methods that I use and try to get in as many ‘hands on’ methods as well.”

When possible, he includes students in that process.

“Helping me to design better projects, with full disclosure, has been, I think a real mainstay for helping engagement with students,” said Locke. “For example, one of the projects that we did was a Minecraft in Education, where we used Minecraft to represent our ideas from our Creative Writing, and students really enjoyed that.”

Locke teaches Biology and Creative Writing, a unique left brain/right brain marriage.

“It’s little bit of the sciences and a little bit of the arts,” said Locke. “I must say, I really enjoy being between two departments. I think my Language Arts background helps inform my biology teaching, and vice versa.”

Before COVID, Locke headed up the School’s Smash Club, a competitive gaming club students use to raise funds for the Autism Society, alongside coaching basketball and the CBS Blue Fins swim team, and whatever else needed doing around the school.

“My goal is, if there’s a void at school, and you need a teacher sponsor, I’m game,” said Locke. “Or, if there isn’t a particular activity at school and there are a group of students who want to have that activity, I’m game to help at least find a space and find a teacher to do that.”

Locke, who currently lives in St. Johns, is originally from Long Pond, and is proud to have spent the last eight years teaching in his hometown.

“I’m from this neighbourhood, and I kind of say to myself, ‘I never saw it working out this way,’” said Locke. “So, it’s nice to be back in the community I grew up in and giving back to a place that has been so good to me.”

He’s also quick to point out the success of other Holy Spirit staff and students.

“There are a lot of amazing things going on at this school, and my successes are definitely only a small part of the numerous amounts of activities that happen here,” said Locke.

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