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Junior high teacher equips Brothers, encourages students

20161107-terry-richards-001 | The Feather Online

Terry Richards has been a teacher at FC for 16 years and continues to be an example of a Christ-like man for students.

Seldom is it that a school finds a willing staff member yearning to go above and beyond what is asked of them. A prime example of such an employee is FC junior high teacher, Terry Richards.

Richards began his teaching career 56 years ago and has been teaching at FC for 16 years. From teaching bible and science classes to advising Brother-to-Brother, Richards has made it his mission to be the best example of a Christian man he can be.

Richards has trusted God in his career path. He has always had a love for kids and education. Richards mentors his male students, attempting to share Christ with them.

“I love kids and I love helping them to learn,” Richards said. “I love teaching. I feel God has directed me in my teaching. He has blessed me. I feel God’s call for me is to encourage boys and young men to be the best Christian man they can be. This has been my calling for many years. I don’t see it as effort. I see it as ministry.”

After teaching in the public school system, Richards is grateful to teach at a Christian institution. He sees opportunities at FC as his platform to share the Gospel. Through simply teaching in the classroom or being in charge of Brother-to-Brother he strives to make FC a stronger Christian environment.

“I teach Bible class,” Richards said. “I really like teaching the Bible. The Brother-to-Brother program has given me a platform to share Scripture and godly living tips with the high school guys in the training meetings.”

Brother-to-Brother is a program that was started in 2010 when Richards saw a need for junior high boys to be mentored by older high schoolers. He initially asked a high school guy to mentor a junior higher and saw success. Richards believed that God was giving him an opportunity to make an impact on the school.

I love kids and I love helping them to learn. I love teaching. I feel God has directed me in my teaching. He has blessed me. I feel God’s call for me is to encourage boys and young men to be the best Christian man they can be.  This has been my calling for many years. I don’t see it as effort. I see it as ministry. –Terry Richards

The next year he presented the idea to FC administration and it was approved. That first semester Richards had 10 students in total involved in the program. Through prayer and consistency, the program now has 68 young men at FC involved.

Alumni Brady Lee, ’12, was that first high schooler to be an older brother. Lee enjoyed taking part in Brother-to-Brother and was happy to help the program get started.

“When I was in high school, Mr. Richards sat down with me and shared his desire for a mentoring program,” Lee said. “I was really excited about what he was proposing. I knew that a lot of my high school buddies would be down to pour into younger dudes. We would have loved to have that kind of relationship with an upperclassmen when we were in junior high.” 

20160105-fc-b2b-005Michael Fu

Brother to Brother advisor Terry Richards teaches older brothers during their weekly meeting.

Lee has seen Richards impact the school in many different ways. Over the years his perspective of who Richards is has changed. Lee appreciates always having someone who is there for him even now that he has left the FC campus.

“As a junior higher, I viewed Mr. Richards as a strict science teacher,” Lee said. “As a high schooler, I viewed him as a wise mentor. Now a days, I view him as a dear friend. I’ve been fortunate enough to share many early morning breakfasts with Mr. Richards. I always leave with a full stomach and a full heart. He’s a safe person to share my struggles with. I feel known and loved by Mr. Richards. ”

Richards has continually been mentoring young men for years at FC. Alumnus Aaron Dewolf, ’14, appreciates Richards for always giving him advice throughout trials in his life. Dewolf considers him to be a close mentor and friend.

“For me personally Mr. Richards has been an example and role model of what a Christ-like man should be,” Dewolf said. “He has taken me under his wing and guided me through some of the most difficult times in my life. His sacrificial and servant heart has always put students and others ahead of himself. Mr. Richards has been my greatest role model, mentor, and above all, a dear friend.”

ASB Vice President and current Brother-to-Brother member Trevor Trevino, ’17, admires Richards for his positive and uplifting personality. Trevino has served as an outdoor education counselor for the junior high with Richards for the past two years. Richards has encouraged Trevino throughout his junior high and high school years.

“Mr. Richards impacts the community through his joyful spirit and compassion,” Trevino said. “His love for the Brother-to-Brother program has changed junior high and high school students for the better. He has impacted me personally through constant encouragement. Having lunch with him now and then brings me joy and wisdom which strengthens my relationship with God.”

Community and parental involvement is prominent at a small school such as FC. As a result teachers and parents have frequent interaction with each other. Lucy LeBlanc has had two kids taught by Richards. Her son, Nick LeBlanc is a current member of Brother-to-Brother. LeBlanc finds it comforting to have him mentoring her son.

“He (Richards) has a tremendous impact on the students at the school,” LeBlanc said. “He is truly an extraordinary teacher and role model. As a parent I find it incredibly comforting that such a Godly man is teaching our students.” 

Terry Richards | The Feather Online

Richards occasionally speaks in chapels for the junior high and high school.

By consistently praying for the direction of the school and administration, Richards encourages the staff around him. Superintendent Brown has found Richards to be a loyal and integral employee in the few years that he has been here. Brown commends Richards for always seeking what God’s will is for the school.

“My first impression of Mr. Richards was warm and that he cares deeply about FCS and its students,” Brown said. “When I was publicly named superintendent, he contacted me and wanted to meet to offer any assistance and wanted to pray with me.

“He is faithful in praying for me and our school,” Brown continued. “Few people in life truly intercede in prayer, Mr. Richards is one of those people. Whether or not he knows when I have a big decision to make, I know that he is seeking for God’s will at FCS.”

Richards sees teaching at FC as his ministry for God. He strives to continue working, mentoring, and teaching at FC for as long as God will keep him there. 

To read another top five article check out, Fall family picnic unites FC community.

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @Phillip11499 and via email: Phillip Christopher.

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