Retired Soldier Named National Teacher of the Year
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 30, 2002 President Bush named a retired soldier the 2002 National Teacher of the Year in a White House ceremony April 24.
Chauncey Veatch retired as a colonel from the Army in 1995 after 22 years as an infantry and Medical Service Corps officer. Today, he is a social studies teacher at Coachella Valley High School in Thermal, Calif.
The National Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic Inc., the children's publishing and media company.
Veatch was cited for leading his students, 99 percent of whom are Hispanic, in developing a literacy program for third graders at two local elementary schools and in passing out pamphlets about health issues in migrant laborer camps.
He spent much of his military career in Latin American countries and speaks fluent Spanish.
"He uses the language to communicate with his students and to show respect for a culture," Bush said of Veatch during the Rose Garden ceremony. "He's involved in many after- school programs and community events. In short, he's changed a lot of lives for the better."
Bush lauded Veatch for the extra activities he leads. In addition to teaching social studies, Veatch teaches a ninth-grade career-preparation course and has established a branch of the California Cadet Corps at his school. The Cadet Corps is a leadership- and citizenship-development program for the state's junior and senior high school students. It includes information on the military and the role of the armed forces in a democracy.
"For Mr. Veatch, teaching is not just a career, it is a high calling. It's a form of service to children and to a nation he loves," Bush said. "He has served both the children and our country extraordinarily well."
(Compiled from news releases from the White House Press Office and the Council of Chief State School Officers.)