By Madison Boswell ’13
Simpson success stories don’t end when graduates walk across the stage, land that dream job, or go on to get more advanced degrees.
Simpson alum Eric Hall ‘96 was recognized for his success recently when he received the Des Moines Rotary Club’s High School Teacher of the Year Award. Hall teaches chemistry and advanced chemistry classes at Hoover High School in Des Moines, a position he has held since his graduation from Simpson.
“It’s always nice to be recognized for the things I do,” Hall said. “I feel like I have taken on a strong leadership role not just in my classroom, but in the whole school, helping out with professional development and mentoring.”
Hall credits Simpson for giving him experiences that have led to his success as a teacher, though he hadn’t always intended on going into science education.
“Both my parents were teachers, so I always kind of knew I wanted to go into education,” Hall said. “When I first came to college I originally thought I was going to become a band director. But at freshman orientation, my advisor actually lead me to go the science direction.”
While at Simpson, Hall was involved in music activities, including jazz band, and also participated in the Tri-Beta Biology Fraternity, but a few activities rise above the rest during his Simpson experience.
“One of my favorite Simpson memories was probably a May Term course I took with Cathy Baker,” Hall said. “We went out west on a geology trip. That’s probably one of the things that stands out the most to me.”
Throughout Hall’s education at Simpson, his experiences beyond the classroom may have made the strongest impact. One in particular, was the influence and opportunities provided by professor Stan Malless, who also taught at Indianola High school while teaching at Simpson.
“He still taught classes at Indianola High School, and let Simpson students come in and observe and interact with the students,” Hall said. “It wasn’t a formal practicum, but it gave us another chance to be in the classroom and have more experience. That’s one thing that still stands out after 17 years. Not many teachers would go back to high school and teach after teaching at the collegiate level.”
Hall believes it is important that students take full advantage of opportunities outside of the classroom, such as internships and networking.
“I think that getting out and talking to people in your profession is very important,” he said. “Take advantage of internships and really get out there and talk to people in the field you are looking to go into. The reality of many professions can turn out to be a lot different than the perceptions we have as students, so it’s important to get out there and see what it’s really like.”
Not only is Hall a Simpson Success story, but his wife is as well. Amy Voorhees Hall ’96 is the vocal director of choral activities at Waukee High School and was the past choral director at Hoover High School.