A local teacher is gaining national attention for helping students excel in and out of the classroom. Bruce Unger, a 5th grade teacher at Neal Elementary, has been named “Most Caring Coach" for the difference he's making in the lives of his students.
During his first year of teaching in 2002, Bruce Unger wanted to give boys with behavior and academic problems an incentive to do better. So he started a soccer team called Los Coyotes in hopes of getting them back on track. Three years later, he's done just that.
“We worked with the parents and the school together to start a program where the kids have to keep their grades up. They have to be respectful at home, respectful at school," said Unger.
Parent Angela Degelman says she has seen a drastic improvement in her son's behavior due to Unger's leadership.
“He’s so much more respectful of adults and his teachers and his peers. He's grown so much in terms of his maturity," said Degelman.
Degelman was so impressed with how Unger was able to transform the group of boys through soccer that she nominated him for a national most caring coach award. Thanks to an outpouring of praise from teachers, players, and parents, Unger won that award.
Unger and his staff of soccer coaches have lead the boys to many victories on the field, but say what's most important is to apply that same winning spirit in their everyday lives.
“It keeps my report card up, it keeps me out of trouble and it's just cool," said Joe Salenas, a Los Coyotes team member.
“It helps me with my grades and I get to play with my friends and it's just fun to do," said Bykecy Campbell.
Unger says the soccer program wouldn't be as successful if it weren't for support for Bryan schools and parents. And of course the boys on the team who try so hard.
“They’re making As and Bs. Teachers are e-mailing me all the time telling me how wonderful they are," said Unger.
And Unger's team thinks he's pretty wonderful too.
Los Coyotes have a game on Saturday, September 18 at 9:30 a.m. at Central Park in College Station. You can find out more about Coach Unger and the team in an article in USA Weekend Sunday, September 25.
The soccer team is now in a competitive league and needs funding to cover the cost of traveling.
For more information call 209-7722.
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