Teacher of the Year takes on new challenges after 10 years in the classroom


Caroline Judd

Beginning his victory lap around the gym, 2019 Teacher of the Year awardee Emanuel Young pumps his fists to energize the crowd at the Spring Pep Rally, March 29. This is Young’s fourth year teaching business at West High.. “I was in a state of disbelief,” Young said. “My heart was racing; it was one of those things you felt like you should have known but didn’t.”

Excitement buzzes in room 2312 as Principal Jeremy Mitchell enters with a basket of gifts and a certificate for business teacher Emmanuel Young, the 2019 Parkway West Teacher of the Year.

Young has taught for the last 10 years, the past four of those spent at West as a business teacher.

“I believe that Mr. Young works hard to give students a unique experience; he has a kind demeanor and the ability to positively impact so many students,” Mitchell said. “He has guided students to success in a different manner than some of his colleagues. His style might be different, but students have grown significantly personally and professionally.”

Senior Abby Bajier recalls a moment Young impacted her after she was disappointed that their business had not placed at The Business Plan Nationals, which is a competition that ranks students companies in the Virtual Enterprise program.

“I remember him walking beside me and telling me I’m destined for greatness no matter what they say. He said ‘you are going to overcome this, and you are going to be greater than they ever expected.’ He said to never give up, even if you are being hard on yourself, just keep going because you will get there eventually,” Bajier said.

Young and his students run their own business, VIVID VE, a creative design agency that is managed through his classroom. In addition to learning about businesses in the real-world, Young has offered his students the opportunity to visit places places like New Zealand and Ireland, visiting companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

“It is my personal mission to bring inspiration and opportunity to all my students in an effort to prepare them for college, career and ultimately life. My commitment every day is to bring my absolute best. With that being said, I’m driven by the fact that I never know what a student might be going through. I’m conscious of the weight of my words. I’m driven by knowing life is short and you never know what an interaction can mean to someone,” Young said.

In the fall of 2019, Young is set to take on an administrative role in the Rockwood School District, leaving his teaching job behind.

“Its bittersweet. I am excited about the opportunity but sad about leaving the classroom,” Young said. “My vision for education is bigger than the role I have right now as a teacher, and I am somewhat limited by my classroom. But, in my new position, I will be able to reach thousands of students on a regular basis.”

After his years of teaching in the classroom, Young reflects on his experiences and how it feels to do what he loves.

“I count it an absolute joy and privilege to being a teacher for 10 years and to work with the next generation of leaders and professionals,” Young said. “The work that we do [teaching] is really important, and I’m driven by my commitment to improve and be the best that I can be for my students, community and other stakeholders.”