SAN ANTONIO — Just about every month for the last two years, Dr. Jerome Choate was voted by students at his school as best teacher. So it was an easy choice for Randolph ISD to nominate him for the KENS 5 Credit Human EXCEL award.
At Randolph High school, It’s not Choate’s PhD and years of research in neuroscience that sets him apart. He is in fact a star for many other reasons.
There was a lot of energy in the cafeteria of Randolph High School on Tuesday.
It all had al the right elements of family, friends and fans (aka students), to make it a very special day for their favorite Science teacher, Dr. Jerome Choate.
Cheers, clapping and emotion filled the room as Dr. Choate accepted his EXCEL award.
“This is only necessary because of the students, my kids who are out here, give yourselves a hand,” said Dr. Choate as he addressed the room.
Choate’s love for everything earth and science goes back to his childhood.
He received a B.S. in Biology from Oregon State University in 1983. Then he earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 1989.
Choate went on to work as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Oregon Health Sciences University for 6 years, then as a contract Staff Chemist at Wilford Hall Medical Center for 3 years.
He also taught for 2 years at the University of Alaska Anchorage in the departments of Chemistry and Biological Sciences.
But once again, like most military spouses, he found himself making another move as his wife continued to serve in the Air Force.
Six years ago, their family returned to San Antonio.
“We’ve been together 32 years, almost 33” Dr. Choate’s wife, Nicola, said.
While Nicola served in the Air Force, she and Choate traveled all over the country, hopping from state to state with their four girls.
Along the way, together they would journey into the different state parks.
“He does like to camp,” said one of his high school students.
Apparently Choate likes to share his camping stories with his class, “In San Antonio you think it's all limestone. you only have to get far away and there are other neat formations like enchanted rock. and many students have been there and we talk about it."
His students love how he brings a piece of home-life to the class because as they explained, he makes a difficult subject, much more interesting.
"It's just the way he explains things is what I like most about him,” said another Junior at Randolph High School.
It creates a positive environment for these sophomores, juniors and seniors already prepping for College. Dr. Choate also teaches their UT OnRamps course, a dual enrollment class.
And just like he’s striving to make them great students, "The students make you a good teacher, " Choate added, "You're doing it for them. You're not doing it for you. Your ego, your personal aspirations have nothing to do with how you're going to teach them."