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Emerson Awardee Leans on Life Experiences to Help Students Succeed

“I’m always a teacher.”    

     Evie Troupe makes the statement with confidence, even though the path to her 2018 Emerson Excellence in Teaching award came with some personal obstacles.

     She became a mother at age 19, giving birth to twins. Troupe was held back in elementary school, but never gave up. And that’s part of why she is successful in her chosen field.

     Troupe, who is the Library Media Specialist at Washington Elementary School, recalls the summer after she learned she had to repeat the first grade.

     “My parents sent me down to the basement and had my siblings take shifts to teach me,” recalled Troupe, who is seventh in a family of eight children. “One would help me with my reading, another would bring down worksheets for me to do. That summer was a turning point for me. I didn’t give up. I never did.”

     Troupe, who began her career as a fifth-grade teacher at Washington Elementary School in 1998, was nominated for the Emerson award by her building principal, Pamela Hollins.

      “I was genuinely shocked I was even nominated,” Troupe said, who earned her master’s degree in Education from Lindenwood University. “I’ve worked for 21 years with a lot of teachers I respect. It’s truly an honor.”

     In her 21 years in Normandy, Troupe has had an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of colleagues, parents and students. She says she is able to make a connection based on her life’s philosophy and ability to relate to people. For example, she says parents appreciate the effort she makes with their children.

     “I let parents know how much their children mean to me,” she explained. “[For me] things weren’t always perfect, but we’re all in this together. I tell them I want their kids to do well, just as if they’re mine.”

     Troupe is a wife and mother to two adult children: one is a high school biology and physical science teacher in Oklahoma. The other, her daughter, works in early childhood education as a substitute teacher. Troupe credits her own experience as a mother for helping her better relate to her students. She says her son was always a good student. Like Troupe, he did well in math and science. School was a breeze for him. But it was different for her daughter, who struggled in school. Troupe, who was also taking classes at the time, would study with her young daughter who had to work hard to get good grades. She sees the same in her students.

     “Not every child is the same. If a child is giving me their best, that’s all I can ask for,” she said. “We want them to keep going, to keep making progress. If they keep working and seeing progress, they will see success.”

     As a veteran in Normandy, Troupe has seen plenty of changes and she has chosen to stay. Part of that is because she began her own education in Normandy, having attended Pine Lawn, Garfield and Harrison Elementary schools as a child. She also has family in the Normandy footprint. The other reason she has remained is her dedication to urban education.

     “Every child should have a good teacher,” said Troupe, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Education at Harris-Stowe State University. “It shouldn’t matter how much money their parents make or where they live. If they come here, I want to make sure they have a good start.”

     Troupe also serves as a mentor for new teachers, making herself available when they need advice or to be a sounding board for concerns.

     “Teaching can be stressful, but I try to let them know they’re doing well and where to go from there,” Troupe said.

      Troupe earned her Library Media Specialist certification in 2016 and plans to finish her career in Normandy.

     “Normandy is home,” she said. “I have bad days and good days, but seeing students succeed makes it all worth it. I love to see children learn.”