By: Anna Kate Baygents
With over 105 teachers here at Oak Grove High School, it’s hard to get to know all of them. Many students wonder what their teachers do for fun (if they ever have any), if they pushed themselves in school as hard as they push their students, and why they want to teach. One who many wonder about is history teacher Whitney McBeth.
“On the first day of class, she tried to scare us by giving a long speech about how hard her class was going to be,” junior Chris Franovich said. “Yeah, I did have to work hard, but by the end of the semester, I knew she really cared about her students and saw me as more than just a head of blonde curls.” Growing up, Ms. McBeth lived in Glendale, Mississippi. She attended North Forrest schools from first through twelfth grade. In high school, McBeth was active in most every club from Student Council as a class officer to the yearbook staff. She also kept the stat books for baseball and football games and was voted Most School Spirit by her class.
“I always valued my grades, but extracurricular activities were important to me too,” McBeth said.
That’s an understatement; she graduated second in her class in 1999.
After graduating, McBeth attended Pearl River Community College then later transferred to Southern Miss. She received her B.A. in History and a minor in Spanish. During those college years, she began working as an intern at her church.
“I loved talking and hanging out with teenagers. I realized that it was fun and important to me that they be guided positively in their lives. So… I decided to teach them,” McBeth said.
She went on to graduate school at William Carey University and earned a Master’s degree in secondary education.
McBeth joined the OGHS faculty in 2004 and has taught a variety of classes of freshmen through juniors in Mississippi Studies, geography, world history, and AP World History.
“I enjoy teaching history because it’s fun to me to try to understand why people have taken the actions to change the world and make it what we know today,” McBeth said.
Her love for teenagers has carried outside the classroom, where she’s sponsored Red Cross, Diamond Girls, and the Historical Society.
When not in school, McBeth enjoys any physical activity, but specifically running, dancing, and white water rafting. She also admitted some guilty pleasures, such as watching The Jersey Shore, and The Real Housewives of D.C. and New Jersey.
“These shows are funny and remind me of how much I have my life together,” McBeth joked.
Another major hobby of hers is traveling. “I love to travel but do not get to do it enough. I just got back from Rome and am taking a group of students to Europe this summer. We’re also in the midst of planning our next trip to Europe for students in the summer of 2012,” McBeth said. (For trip information, stop by Ms. McBeth’s room, H-104.)
Her travels, however, aren’t all just for fun. For the past three summers, McBeth has gone on mission trips to Costa Rica. Once there, she and her team work recreation at schools and orphanages and help serve with different food ministries.
“It’s so rewarding to see the impact just our team can make,” McBeth said.
Many students have learned valuable advice from Ms. McBeth’s class and walked away with something more than just facts and dates: good memories.
“Ms. McBeth was an awesome teacher, but I don’t think that she ever fully understood Rousseau’s concept of majority rules,” junior Savannah Bynum said.