The newest addition to room 131

Bernarda Cervantes, Staff

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Room 131 looks completely different than it has in years before. A large UGA banner hangs behind a desk. The desks have been rearranged in small pods. Most different is the man sitting behind the desk.

Following the departure of Matt Montgomery, known to his students as Coach Montgomery, Brett Tolbert,  now known as Coach Tolbert, teaches a new course at CHS, Forensic Science.

On his adjustment to the school, Coach Tolbert says, “It’s been an easy transition; the students are wonderful here, always saying yes sir, no sir and opening doors,” he continues and says on his reception by the students, “ and being very, very nice to me so it’s been an easy transition.” It has been an adjustment, however, since previously, Coach Tolbert worked with honors and AP students. At CHS, he is teaching on level courses. On this, Coach Tolbert says, “It’s been a transition… sometimes you have to do a little extra motivation to get students to work but it’s been a good transition. I’ve enjoyed working with the on level class.” A challenge the Forensics class faces is that Anatomy isn’t a prerequisite to the course, as it is traditionally. On this challenge Coach Tolbert says, “It has it’s drawbacks,” he continues, “dealing with Forensics you need to understand certain characteristics of the human body, and if those backgrounds are missing then I have to spend a little more time catching students up,” but says,“it’s not a big hurdle.”

Coach Tolbert is dynamic in the classroom.  Described in one word by sophomore student Esmeralda Cervantes, “Eccentric.” She continues, “He’s pretty cool.”

“My impression of him is that he’s real nice and kind. He’s funny and says quirky things to wish us luck before a test or quiz, “ Malcolm Cooley, a senior taking the new Forensic Science course says, adding, “The class is going real well, we learn [something] new each week. It’s a class where you build your knowledge from what you learned previously.”  The quirky things that Coach Tolbert says to wish his class luck on tests? “Live long and prosper,” as well as, “may the force be with you.” True to form, Coach Tolbert is a self-confessed nerd.

When describing the new Forensics course, the teacher says, “Lots of hands on activities, crime scenes, ballistics, fingerprints, DNA…” before reiterating, “lots of hands on activities.” The class is active in the cultivation of whole new set of skills than used in traditional science classes, like the creation of crime scene sketches, and even search techniques used during police investigations. It’s clear that the class is much different than any other science class offered at CHS. Coach Tolbert hints at future collaborations with the Healthcare classes, saying, “I do plan to collaborate with Coach Hardy and do some joint endeavors with him.” Another activity that the Forensics class will be doing is studying real life cases. “We’ll be doing a case study a month, with cases that have been in the news like JonBenét Ramsey,  the Wayne Williams case in Atlanta, break down the facts, and see where forensics could’ve helped and where it didn’t.”

The new science teacher is refreshingly honest, he spoke with his class about his own background, and deeply personal struggle, which we will not detail here. Tolbert’s reason for sharing with his classes is to make it clear to his students, he’s been there. He didn’t want to hear, “Coach, you don’t understand.” On the contrary, he says, “It’s made me a stronger person and it gives me insight to other students that are struggling with the same issues I did.”

When asked what kind of student would enjoy the Forensic Science class, Coach Tolbert says, “A student who in general loves science, loves hands on activities, and wants to learn a little bit more about the human body.” We welcome Coach Tolbert to CHS, who has already proven a great addition to our school.

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