Mark Hoover became three things in the time span of one year — a teacher, a prom king, and now a national delegate for the Democratic Party.
A social studies teacher at Pasco High School, Hoover, 33, was elected prom king by students in his first year. Teachers elected prom royalty are highly favored by students.
Hoover’s success as a new teacher can be attributed to his hands-on teaching style. He wants students to fully understand the political process, beginning from the local level.
When students expressed interest in the caucus process, Hoover was inspired to run as a Sen. Bernie Sanders delegate for Washington’s 4th Congressional District.
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“It’s what motivated me to go, I wanted to have really good material for my students,” Hoover said.
“Conventions aren’t as important to the electoral cycle as they once were, but they can be — and I want to show my AP government students how we’ve made it that way this time,” he added.
Hoover is considered a prodigy at Pasco High School, according to fellow teacher Ron Newbury. Students who took Hoover’s Advanced Placement government class were about 40 percent more likely to pass the exam than previous years.
Pasco High School has seen an improvement on AP exam passage ratings in several disciplines this past year, under the direction of principal Raul Sital.
My students need to know if they want to see change, they need to realize they are the agents of that change, that they can make change.
Pasco teacher Mark Hoover
Newbury said Hoover not only impacted students intellectually, but also on a human level, “in their hearts.”
Earning students’ respect and admiration wasn’t easy, Hoover said. Pasco High School is home to an underserved population of students who face “poverty, poor urban development, and the trappings of institutional discrimination.”
When students arrive back in school Aug. 30, Hoover will be ready to share his experience.
In class, Hoover will show students the speeches he gave, speeches his wife, Brooke Hoover, calls “passionate and from the heart.”
He will show the photographs and videos he took at the convention and prepare a discussion on how political conventions relate to the overall general election process.
He hopes that in the upcoming year, he will get the chance to take students on field trips to see local politics in action. He may even run for a local office, so that students can once again watch the political process firsthand.
Hoover wants to provide students with the language and tools needed to one day involve themselves in the political process and make a positive impact on their communities.
“My students need to know if they want to see change, they need to realize they are the agents of that change, that they can make change,” he said.
“But they have to understand the system. They need to know how the levers are turned, they need to understand where the entry points are and how they can come up with innovative solutions.”
— Christina Klos is a journalist and a student at Temple University in Philadelphia. She is reporting on the Democratic National Convention as part of a project allowing students to cover the event for local news outlets.